As an event planner, finding celebrities and actually getting them through the door of your event can be very challenging. Here are 12 tips for how to recruit and host a celebrity guest, for the success of your event.
Who doesn’t love attending events with a star speaker or celebrity guest? Celebs are, of course, very busy people and they limit the time that they give away for events or engagements. While they may be busy, there are a variety of ways you can grab their attention and encourage them to attend your event.
A little hard work and a few clever ideas can set you up for success in attracting a celebrity guest. Here are some great tips to help you track down your next special guest and to ensure they leave your event singing your praises!
1. Use Your Connections
Asking around within your niche or your community can often lead you towards finding the guests or speakers that you are seeking. Many of us are so well connected online and throughout social media that these “relationships” can translate into real life opportunities.
Celebs may receive countless approaches to speak every day and are much more inclined to attend an event because someone they know has reached out to them. Find these well connected people within your network and have the courage to ask them to assist you. The worst they can say is no and it is always worth a shot!
Keep in mind that while an A list celebrity might not be open attending your event, there are many other celebs and well known individuals that may be recognized within your niche. Reach out to any and all celebs that might be of interest to your group to increase your odds of getting someone special to attend.
2. Approach with a Genuine Interest
Do your research on the person before you make the ask. Are they on tour in your city around the date of the event? Where are they from? What projects are they currently working on? What school did they attend? Do they have a family or spouse that would be interested in attending the event? Celebs are not going to respond to someone who hasn’t done their homework. This is a very easy way to stand out when you show that you genuinely have an interest in not only the celebrity, but the actual person.
3. Know What is Important to Them
Find a celebrity that is truly connected to the mission or purpose of your event. At the core celebrities are real people like you and I, and they have passions, interests and things that they want their name to be associated with. For example, if you are planning a charity event, you should seek out celebs who have a true commitment to the cause you are representing. They will be much more inclined to attend and spend their time with your attendees.
You should give them some creative freedom on what they might speak about during your event. You will most certainly have a focus and timeline for the time they spend at your event, but if you allow them to make it their own and adapt based on what they care about it will go a long way.
4. Give Them a Reason to Attend
Every celeb will have different reasons for attending an event and having an interesting or unique draw can provide additional incentive to attend. Perhaps you sell them on your audience because they are a great market for the celebrities new product, album, movie, etc.
For example, you could offer them the chance to sell books at the event with a book signing. Are you working with a prestigious PR firm on the event? You might highlight this along with the media coverage they will bring surrounding your event and it would provide great publicity if they attend. You could also try hosting the event in a very desirable location or perhaps your event is in the celeb’s hometown. Finding additional selling points like these can appeal to celebrities and increase your chance of success.
5. Spend the Money
Most of the time a celebrity will have a fee for attending an event. If you really want a specific celeb to attend and you have managed to get them interested in your event, look at your budget and make them a reasonable offer. This goes a long way in showing that your value their time and the draw that they will bring to your event.
When you are negotiating be sure to consider any other demands that a celeb may have, such as specific meals, drinks, snacks, a green room to be available to them, etc. All of these will be in addition to their fee and will needs to be taken into account.
If you follow the additional steps in this post they may cut you a break on the price or provide a discount for future appearances. On a rare occasion, I have heard of celebs waiving their fee once they see the great work that is being accomplished by your event or your attendees. However, on the initial ask they will most likely have a fee for attending. You should do your best to negotiate, find a way to agree on the terms and pay the fees.
6. Make Them the Star of the Show
Depending on your event you can really market the star status of a celeb. Promote them and their attendance in as many ways possible. This will benefit you in your attendance rate and also the celeb in the publicity they are receiving surrounding your event. Celebs love to be in the limelight and your event will be a wonderful avenue for them to feel like a star!
A word of caution, that while you do want your celeb to be a draw for the event, you don’t want it to be the only reason guests attend. Be sure to balance the marketing of your event and have a balance on the aspects you promote. You never want the entire event to hinge on one aspect.
7. Make Your Needs Clear
Make sure your requests are reasonable and be careful to make sure that you provide very specific details on what is expected of the guest while they are onsite. Many celebs will have their own requirements or their management to approve items such as recordings or photography. If you leave something to question or it is not previously discussed, this could lead to be bad experience for your celebrity guest and ultimately for your attendees. Being up front, courteous and efficient will go a long way in the interaction that you have with the celeb.
8. Provide an Excellent Experience
Once your guest has agreed to attend, do your best to ensure they receive the best possible experience. You want them to enjoy their time, feel appreciated and be impressed by the event you have created. From the moment the arrive to the moment they leave, be sure to leave a lasting impression. Everything from the customer service you provide to the atmosphere your event displays will have a direct impact on the experience your celebrity guest remembers.
You should also be mindful of your security needs and, depending on the level of celeb you have attending, you may need to take additional precautions to ensure everyone’s safety. Work with the celebrities team or manager and your venue to make sure you are meeting everyone’s safety requirements.
9. Be Respectful of Their Time
As event planners we all know that time is a tremendously valuable resource for busy people. Celebs are extremely busy individuals and their schedules often allow for very little downtime or time off. The time they dedicate to your event should be valued and respected. Have a plan and a timeline for your celebrity guest and stick to it as strictly as possible.
10. Show Your Gratitude
When your guest is onsite at the event make sure they know how much you appreciate their time and willingness to attend. Recognize them in as many ways as you can. Examples of this could include everything from greeting them with a nice gift in their hotel room upon their arrival, giving them love on your social media platforms and most obviously sincerely thanking them during your (or the MC’s) portion of the event presentation.
11. Build a Relationship
Take time to get to know the celeb before during and after your event. Chat with their manager or team and speak with them when they are onsite to ensure they feel welcome and have everything they need. If you treat your celebs like a friend or real person and ensure that you connect with them, you will have a much better chance of them coming back or giving you a vote of confidence that will help in recruiting future speakers or celebs.
12. Send a Thank You Note
Depending on the size of your event I would encourage as many people as possible to write letters to the celeb thanking them for attending. If you have a large group this might be challenging, but you could ask people to tweet at them to say thank you or encourage each of your staff members or volunteers to write a thank you. Handwritten letters are so uncommon these days and they really go along way in showing your gratitude.
Recruiting and hosting celebrities at an event can be a challenge, but if you approach it in the right way and with bit of finess you are sure to find success. Celebrities and high profile presenters can bring a huge boost to your event revenue, marketability and overall attendee experience. Using the tips above you will be well prepared to find and retain celebs for your future events.