5 Tips in Booking a Big Name for your Next Conference

by Leah Doyle | February 16, 2016

Do you want a big name for your next conference? An in-demand speaker? In order to book a celebrity, a media personality, or any athlete, you have to have perseverance and vision. Perseverance to keep at it and vision to look ahead.

Here are 5 tips to booking an in-demand speaker:

  1. Research, research, research. Know what you want. Be as specific as you can and do your homework in finding what speakers might meet your needs. It is fun to dream big and decide you want Oprah to speak at your conference; but is Oprah what will meet your goals in your conference? Hire the content, not the name.
  1. Book Early. Plan to book early, at least six months in advance of your event. If you are trying to hire a well-known name, the earlier you ask, the better your chances of locking them in.
  1. Big names require big budgets. Be as realistic as you can in planning how much to pay your speaker. Consider the rest of your meeting budget and know what you are spending where. This knowledge will help in your negotiations and give you perspective when you have to pay big bucks.

Evan Bailey, internet entrepreneur and frequent keynote speaker, created a chart of possible fees in his article The Ultimate Guide to Keynote Speaker Fees. His numbers may help you get started in your budgeting:

$10,000 – $20,000.  Most of the major conferences pay their keynote speakers something within this range.  Even for some of the more well-known keynote speakers, this is no fee to sneeze at; and if it is, keynoting the conference is probably an honor in itself as well.

$20,000 – $50,000.  This is the range for most celebrity speakers.  When I say celebrity speakers, I mean actual celebrities that are household names or alternatively, category experts that are such big draws that it simply makes economic sense to pay this fee.

$50,000 – $100,000.  The top celebrity speakers’ fees are in this ballpark.  There are only a few dozen folks that would be priced above this range.   Typically, an organization paying a fee like this one can do so because the keynote speaker is such a big draw that ticket sales far exceed the amount of the speaker fee.

$100,000+.  Interested in hiring Bill Clinton?  Richard Branson?  Donald Trump?  You’ve found your range.

  1. Have Back-up Options. When booking a celebrity or media star, you have to be careful not to put all of your eggs in one basket. Even if you have a signed contract, it is wise to have back-up options. Celebrities and professional speakers are traveling a lot and delays and weather troubles happen. Imagine worse case scenarios like laryngitis or accidents. Having back-up plans is wise and it will also help you if you worry about all the things that could do wrong. You’ve already thought of them.
  1. If They Aren’t Available this Year, Book for Next Year. Look ahead and invest in next year’s conference. Speakers will often take notice of a repeat offer.

If you are an event planner who thinks booking a big name cannot be done, think again. If you have the tenacity and vision, you, too, can have a celebrity speaker at your next meeting.

really good speaker








Topics: Blog

Written by Leah Doyle


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