For celebrities, artists, and performers, spending several months of the year touring around the country and around the world is likely exhausting. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that many celebrities will come up with a list of requirements and necessities that help make life easier and more comfortable while touring. These requests are known as a “rider.” As a definition, a rider is an addition or amendment to a document, contract, testament, etc.
In the specific case of booking a celebrity, a rider is an additional legal document that is coupled with the main contract for the performance, concerts, etc. Oftentimes, celebrities will have a fairly detailed list of requirements to be included in the rider, including stipulations regarding flights and ground transportation, hotel accommodation, production requests, food requests, etc. For some A-list celebrities, these rider requests can become a costly part of the overall contract.
For example, during Beyoncé’s 2013 The Mrs. Carter World tour, E! News reported that the singer required “hand-carved ice balls”, freshly painted white walls, a new toilet seat, red toilet paper, 100% pure cotton clothing for staff, titanium drinking straws, and strictly no junk food! Of course, not every celebrity will have such strict demands. No matter what type of rider the celebrity requires for the event or concert you are organizing, there are certainly a few ways that you can save on those costs. Below, we offer three suggestions for how you can best save money on rider costs.
Negotiate, Negotiate, and Negotiate
Some elements in a rider will be strictly unnegotiable. For example, if a certain celebrity is allergic to nuts, the rider may have exacting language that all meals are 100 percent nut-free. This is just common sense. In other cases, however, the requested elements in the rider might be able to be negotiated, up to a certain point. In the case of production rider requests, some bands and musicians may want sound enhancements that they feel are necessary to make them sound the best. These items might be able to be negotiated based on what the venue provides.
In the case of accommodation, food, transportation, etc., some celebrities and their representation may be willing to slightly negotiate some of the demands. If there are a few extremely expensive rider demands, you may be able to have those removed simply through negotiating. You may also be able to save costs by offering quality alternatives to what the original rider was asking for.
For example, if you are trying to book Taylor Swift for a concert in New York City, she may request to have her team lodged in the Ritz Carlton overlooking Central Park, New York. If you have a discount code for a similar five-star hotel in the vicinity, you may be able to drastically reduce the overall lodging costs by negotiating this point.
Build Relationships with Key Players in Hospitality, Transportation, and Food Catering Industries
Another way to save on rider costs is through building relationships with key players in the hospitality, transportation, and food catering industries. If you are a concert or event promoter, building these relationships can be an important strategy for saving over the long run. For example, if you can book celebrities in the same hotel chain for several different events, the hotel chain (or manager, in the case of a specific hotel in a city) may be inclined to offer you a discount for those bookings. In the specific case of lodging, hotel managers may actually offer you discounts if you can book several celebs through their hotel, as this may be a marketing point that they wish to take advantage of.
The same process goes for transportation companies (both ground transportation and flights) You should always attempt to develop long-standing relationships with important players in these industries, as this may allow for building reciprocal relationships of mutual benefit. In the specific case of food vendors, catering companies, or famous restaurants (many celebrities may include rider clauses asking for dinner at exclusive restaurants), it is also important to build those relationships. Besides benefitting from important discounts, you can also pitch them on the expected benefits they can get expect by being able to say that their food being was being enjoyed by major celebrities. In some cases, you may even be able to get free catering if the celebrity allows for the restaurant or vendor to take pictures with them, or if the celebrity takes and post a picture of the food they´re enjoying.
Make It a Habit to Accumulate Points and Benefits for Long Term Discounts
Lastly, you can also save major money on rider costs by accumulating points and benefits with airlines, credit cards, hotel chains, etc. For example, if you regularly book flights for celebrities and their entourage/team on the same airline, you should find that your airline points begin to accumulate fairly quickly. In the long run, this can lead to major discounts on flight costs. The same principle goes for major five-star hotel chains that like to reward their frequent customers/clients.
You should also consider applying for a business credit card that offers the best points or rewards programs. Some business credit cards offer double, triple, or even more points for flights, hotels, food, etc. Check your accounting records to find where you are spending most on rider costs, and make it a priority to apply for a business credit card that allows you to quickly accumulate points and rewards through hotel, airline, or food specific purchases.
Rider costs can become a costly part of the process of hiring a celebrity. With the three suggestions above, however, concert promoters and event promoters should find that they are able to save major money on these rider costs, and thus improve the overall profitability of the events they organize.