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How to hire entertainment for your corporate event

corporate eventYou’ve been given the responsibility for organising the corporate entertainment for your company’s big annual event. You want the event to be a storming success (and come out looking good in the process), so you need to hire the best corporate entertainment available. So where do you start?

Follow our simple tips and you’ll be an event entertainment booking pro in no time at all, armed with all the information you need to organise corporate event entertainment that’ll be remembered for years to come.

Before you start

Be clear about your budget

You’ll most likely have been set a budget for the entertainment at your event. It’s important to keep your budget in mind at all times. It’s all too easy to fall in love with a 13-piece big band, only to find that they’re way out of your price range. While many acts will have room for negotiation, if your event falls on a busy date like New Year’s Eve, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get much of a reduction in cost, so you can save yourself some time by sticking with acts that are willing to perform within your budget.

Whatever you’re budget, there’s great live entertainment out there for you. Many bands will offer a reduced line-up which reduces the total fee, or you could opt for a DJ or a duo act.

Ensure your venue is suitable for live music

This is a big one. Before you even consider hiring a live function band, make sure your venue is licensed to host live music. Even if your venue is able to host live music, many venues have restrictions on how loud a band is able to perform; it’s important to talk to your venue and get as much information as possible, so that your band is able to make any necessary adjustments to fit in with the venue’s stipulations.

Think about who will be attending your event

While you may want to put your personal touch on the entertainment at your event, it’s vital that any entertainment you hire caters to those who will be attending. Consider the age of the attendees, their musical tastes (if you know them – if not you could go for a multi-genre band with a varied repertoire of songs), whether the event is a formal occasion or a full-on party and whether there will be children in attendance. If kids will be present, it’s probably a good idea to avoid adult-orientated entertainment like (some) stand-up comedians and burlesque performers!

Before you book

Start your search

The best place to start is with a Google search for corporate entertainment in your area. You’ll be greeted with numerous listings for individual acts and corporate entertainment agencies. An established entertainment agency should probably be your first port of call: as well as offering a wide selection of acts, you’ll be able to discuss your requirements with experts with vast experience of providing entertainment for corporate events. If you’re not quite sure what type of entertainment will work best at your event, an agency will be able to give you options to consider that are specially tailored to your requirements. Agencies with numerous acts on their books are a great option if you need multiple acts for an event.

Watch and listen to promotional material

The best corporate event acts will have professionally produced promotional materials to give you an idea of what their live show is like. Make sure to watch and listen to as many acts as possible so that you know you’re getting the band or performer that’s the right fit for your event. If a band has no promotional video, they may still be a top-quality act, but you won’t know what to expect from them, so it’s safer to go with those function bands that have invested in high quality materials.

While it would great if you could watch your act live prior to booking, many function bands and other corporate acts perform exclusively at private events. If you’re really keen to see an act you’re interested in live, it’s always worth asking if they have any upcoming public events, but if not you’ll need to trust that the promo is a good representation and…

Read reviews

Read as many reviews as possible! Entertainment agencies and individual acts like bands, magicians, comedians, dancers, musicians and DJs will generally feature reviews on their website. Read through these, but also look further afield and see what people are saying about the agency or act in question. Good places to look are on Facebook and Google, and independent review sites like Trust Pilot and Yell – here you get to see impartial testimonials from verified customers. If there are any major negatives, it might set alarm bells ringing and save you from booking an act that goes on to let you down.

Discuss your booking in detail

Whether you go to an act direct or you opt to work with a corporate entertainment agency, make sure you discuss exactly what you need in detail. Corporate bookings tend to be less “standard” than other events like weddings and parties, so you’ll need to check whether your chosen acts are able to accommodate your requirements. For example, most function bands perform 2 hours of live music as standard, split in to either 3×40 minute sets or 2×60 minute sets; if you need a band to perform for longer or perhaps between presentations at an awards ceremony, then it’s important to discuss this in advance to ensure you get exactly what you want. Most acts are very flexible and will do everything possible to fit in with the running order of your event, as long as they are informed pre-booking.

Hire your corporate entertainment

Book early

This is our number one piece of advice: book early. Bands and acts are busier at certain times of year, and the most in-demand acts are busy all year round and booked up well in advance. If your event falls on a weekend or during the peak wedding season or at Christmas or New Year, then the earlier you book, the wider your choice of acts will be. It would be crushing to fall in love with an act, only to discover they’re already busy, so make sure to book early!

Another advantage of working with a corporate entertainment agency is that they’ll be able to quickly let you know whether an act is already booked, and offer you a range of alternative acts that are similar in style and quality to your original choice.

Sign a secure contract

Reputable entertainment agencies will require acts to sign a legally binding contract that obliges them to perform at your event. This gives you the peace of mind that your act is secured for your event. In the exceptional circumstance that a band were forced to cancel, a good entertainment agency will do everything possible to find you a suitable replacement. If you decide to hire an act directly, make sure there’s a contract in place to ensure you are covered if the act is unable to perform at your event.

Enjoy yourself!

If you’ve done your homework and secured a great act, there’ll be nothing to worry about on the night apart from enjoying the entertainment and receiving complimentary pats on the back for a job well done!