If you’re in the booking industry, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of celebrities collecting appearance fees. But what you may not know is exactly what celebrity appearance fees entail: the different kinds of appearances, what celebrities are expected to do for each type of appearance, and the price difference between the type of appearance. For event planners and promoters, a celebrity appearance can be a great way to raise the profile of a public event, and it can also make a private event that much more special. And for club owners, a celebrity appearance can be a great way to pack your venue with people willing to shell out major money to spend part of their night rubbing elbows with a celebrity.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the different types of celebrity appearances, the costs associated with each type, and the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a celebrity to attend your event. Read on for more!
What Are Celebrity Appearances?
As the name implies, celebrity appearances are arrangements for a celebrity to attend your party or event, whether it’s public or private. And if you’re a club or venue owner, you can book a celebrity to hang out at your venue for a specified amount of time- customers will pay top dollar just to say they spent the night hanging out with an A-lister.
There are a few different types of appearances that you can book celebrities for, and depending on how much you’re willing to spend, you can also customize what you want the celebrity to do while they’re there (assuming, of course, that the celebrity agrees to do it beforehand).
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of celebrity bookings and what they entail.
A walkthrough is exactly as it sounds: the celebrity is required just to make a quick appearance at the event, and there’s usually no preset amount of time they have to spend there, as long as they show up. Booking a celebrity for a walkthrough typically costs the least amount of money, but there’s a reason for that: a celebrity doing a walkthrough spends the least amount of time at your event.
In some cases, the celebrity may take pictures with guests at the event, but that’s usually the exception rather than the rule; more commonly, the celebrity will literally walk through the event, show their face, and then leave. So if you’re hoping to get a little more out of the celebrity appearance, you should try and set a minimum amount of time the celebrity is expected to stay at your event beforehand.
An appearance is one of the more cost-effective ways to get a celebrity to attend your event, but it also means that they’re not going to do much while they’re there. At a minimum, an appearance fee requires the celebrity to hang out at your event for a predetermined amount of time. Depending on the type of celebrity, they may just sit at a table at the event and possibly take a few pictures with guests before leaving; in other cases, the celebrity might hang out and engage with guests while they’re there.
Like walkthroughs, celebrity appearances only require that the celebrity to show up and stay at your event or venue for a specific amount of time, but it’s not uncommon for celebrities to simply show up, sit at a table and not interact with your guests while they’re there. So while this is a less-expensive way of getting a celebrity to show up at your event, be aware that your guests might be disappointed if they paid a lot of money to attend and didn’t even get a chance to talk to the celebrity.
A hosting agreement is pricier, but it’s also a better way to ensure that the celebrity doesn’t just park themselves at a table in the corner and count down the minutes until they’re allowed to leave. If you hire a celebrity to host your event, they’ll be expected to spend a much more significant amount of time there; not only that, but they’ll also be expected to deliver some quick remarks at the event (even if it’s just an introduction or a greeting) and spend time engaging with guests.
Hosting does not require that the celebrity spends all their time speaking or engaging with guests, but since they’re booked for a longer amount of time and are already expected to interact with everyone, they’re usually much more willing to make themselves a bigger part of the event. But as I mentioned above, hosting events tend to have a much higher price tag- it’s up to you to determine whether the benefit of having the celebrity be accessible to your guests is worth the extra cost.
Speaking agreements are typically only used for specific events; after all, nobody wants to hear a speech from a celebrity while they’re at a bar or club. The price tag depends on how long the celebrity is expected to speak and what other duties (if any) they’ll have while they’re at your event.
In some cases (usually at private, corporate, or conventions), celebrities will deliver prepared remarks and spend time before and after their speech hanging out and interacting with guests; in that case, the price tag is usually higher than a hosting agreement, since the celebrity is both hosting and speaking. But in other cases, the celebrity will simply show up, go onstage and deliver their remarks, interact with guests for a couple of minutes and then leave. If that’s the case, the price tag is usually in line with what you would pay for them to host your event.
A performance agreement is just that: an agreement for the celebrity to deliver a performance of some kind for a predetermined amount of time. If the celebrity is a musician, they may do a short set; if they’re a DJ, they might DJ the event; and if they’re a comedian, they may do a stand-up routine- the details of the performance depend entirely on the celebrity.
The fees for performances can vary pretty wildly, because they also depend on what else you’re expecting the celebrity to do. If you just want them to come onstage, perform for the audience, then leave, the cost will be lower (but still much higher than a walkthrough/appearance or hosting agreement). But if you also want them to spend time with guests, the price can increase dramatically. And just like hosting, it’s up to you to decide whether having the celebrity spend time interacting with fans is worth the extra cost.
As mentioned above, celebrity appearances can have a hugely positive impact on your event or venue. People love to say they partied with a celebrity, and they’ll happily spend a lot of money for the experience- we’ve seen reports of people willing to buy at least $25,000 worth of drinks to sit near Nicki Minaj, as well as reports of Saudi princes spending over $100,000 to secure a VIP table next to celebrities in Las Vegas.
And on top of the extra money a celebrity appearance can bring in, you can also reap the benefits of your event or venue being known as a place where celebrities hang out. Even if there’s no specific celebrity at your venue or event on a given night, if it has a reputation for being a preferred spot for celebrities, people will pay a lot of money just to hang out in the same places as their favorite stars.
Of course, there are some disadvantages too.
…and the Drawbacks
Unfortunately, there is no concrete fee structure for celebrity appearances, because the fee depends on what you want the celebrity to do; moreover, celebrity appearance fees are not public information, so you’ll have to reach out to their representation to figure out what a specific celebrity would charge for each type of appearance.
This lack of information can make it hard to determine how much you need to budget for a celebrity appearance, especially if you don’t have a specific celebrity in mind. And even if you’re targeting a specific type of celebrity (say, for example, pop stars), that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a set price for every celebrity in that category. Katy Perry and Lady Gaga might sell the same amount of records and be equally well-known, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll charge you the same amount for an appearance.
There’s also no guarantee that a celebrity appearance will automatically translate to increased revenue for your venue or event. You might shell out $500,000 for a particular celebrity, only to find out that they’re not as popular as you previously thought and only bring in $300,000 in revenue. And that’s where research, careful budgeting and knowing how to negotiate come in- if you can master those tactics, you’ll be able to minimize the chances of taking a loss on a celebrity appearance.
No matter what kind of event you’re holding, there’s no question that having a celebrity stop by is a great way to raise its public profile. And now that you have a better understanding of what goes into these appearances, you’ll be able to confidently decide whether they’re right for you in the future.