The Dos and Don’ts of Booking Celebrity EntertainmentMarch 1, 2012 By: Ryan Dahlstrom
While celebrity appearances and performances are the driving force behind ushering patrons into nightclubs across the world, they also can be cost prohibitive if the entertainment is not secured through reputable celebrity agencies.
What’s the best way to secure entertainment for your venue? First, make sure the chosen celebrity entertainer makes sense for your venue’s budgets and customer demographic. For example, if you operate a sports bar, consider booking an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) superstar to entice male clientele ranging in age from 21 to 45. Booking UFC athletes easily will engage a primarily male-dominated demographic; UFC matches are broadcast via Pay Per View and other televised events to more than 170 countries roughly every 36 days with a viewership of more than 6 million.
Tito Ortiz, a popular UFC fighter, is available for celebrity appearances.
On the other hand, nightclubs, lounges, bars and restaurants trying to appeal to a female demographic ranging in age from 21 to 45 should be a little careful and more creative. One favorite is the engaging Mario Lopez. His credits include hosting “EXTRA,” the Miss America Pageant, “America’s Best Dance Crew” and “Dancing with the Stars”; he also, of course, played A.C. Slater in the beloved “Saved by the Bell.” Lopez’s fans are highly engaged females who come out in droves when he makes an appearance. He has phenomenal star power and is an excellent option for filling your venue with females.
When seeking a “main-stream” entertainer for a split male/female demographic, consider booking a great DJ. As with all DJs, think about what kind of music is spinning in your venue. Most DJs specialize in only one area of music, such as house, hip-hop, trance, mashups, electronic dance or Top 40. However, some DJs can produce across the board, such as Dee Jay Silver.
Dee Jay Silver has taken his signature rock and country mixes to the next level by touring with country superstar Jason Aldean. In between touring with Aldean, Silver performs around the world at the hottest nightclubs and events, such as South Padre spring break and NASCAR’s Indy 500.
Dee Jay Silver performs at hot nightclubs around the world.
After booking a celebrity appearance or performance, several areas, such as expenses and marketing, should be examined. Make sure to get the most bang for your buck by taking into account the following:
When discussing prices with celebrity agencies, clarify what expenses you are responsible for, including airfare, lodging, ground transportation and contract riders. Booking flights and hotel rooms yourself sometimes can save a great deal of money.
Try booking local celebrities. Regional celebrities garner greater local support and save you from spending on travel expenses.
Free social-media marketing can be a better way to go compared with the expense of print, radio and television advertising. Most likely, every celebrity entertainer has Twitter and Facebook pages. Use these outlets to your advantage. Require your celebrity entertainer to reach out to their fans and market on your behalf. Check out Lopez’s shout out to a promotional Halloween event at Thrive Nightclub in Dallas.
Invest in a step-and-repeat banner — a backdrop display featuring one or more logos in a step or diagonal alternating pattern — for your venue; take photos of every booked celebrity in front of it. The photos can be used in marketing efforts, even after the event has passed.
From left to right: Courtney Mazza, Mario Lopez and Eva Longoria in front of a step-and-repeat banner.
Quantity vs. Quality
Do not spend your entire annual celebrity budget on one appearance or performance. Consider your venue’s maximum occupancy and spend within your capacity.
Spending the money to book Jay Z in a 500-person venue is not worth his price tag. Even if the appearance packs your venue for the night, it won’t translate into returning customers. To really make a name for yourself within your market, book celebrities you can afford throughout the entire year. This approach will afford you more marketing content and consistently drive traffic to your venue.
Booking an entertainer far in advance gives responsible agents the chance to book other appearances in surrounding areas, enabling them the ability to give you a better rate.
These tips and guidelines can help you secure and promote a successful event. As always, when booking a celebrity, make sure you use a recognized reputable agent and do your research before you book!