The warm climate and endless selection of tourist attractions makes Orlando, Florida an ideal location for conventions, conferences, and trade shows. In fact, Orlando hosts literally hundreds of national and international meetings every day of the year. As your attendees attention will often be drawn away from your convention to the theme parks and nightlife in Orlando, it is important to provide extra live entertainment and activity incentives at your event. Whatever your event is at the Orange County Convention Center or Walt Disney World, this article will give you helpful tips for hiring live entertainment for your Orlando meeting.
The first step is to decide what convention activities you would like to have live entertainment at. Be creative in your scheduling, because adding a little unexpected fun throughout the convention will help keep your attendees energized and positive. Everyone expects a show after the gala dinner, but what about before a morning session to wake everyone up or during a break of one of a long afternoon meeting. Thinking outside the box with your entertainment will help make your convention a stand-out event.
Once you know where you want the entertainment, then you can begin focusing on what type of entertainment you want. Nowadays, corporate entertainment options are essentially limitless. You could choose to entertain your guests with costumed stilt walkers, magicians, comedians, hypnotists, fire eaters, bands, headline singers, fortune tellers, or acrobats. If your event has a theme then you might want to try to fit that theme. The theme of The Magic of Customer Service fits hand in hand with a magic show. A Mardi Gras event may benefit from fortune tellers, jugglers, and other street entertainers. If you are opening up a session with some entertainment, sometimes you want to consider a comedian or a comedy actor who could present a fake motivational speech to get everyone laughing. Do not be afraid to break away from tradition. If you always have a stand-up comedian at your dinner, try a comedy hypnotist or corporate game show to give your guests something fresh and new.
When you have narrowed down your selection to one or two types of acts, then you need to begin your search for specific entertainers. You can make your search easier by first deciding on the criteria for what you want in your entertainment. Do you want a national act or a local act? Does the act have to be squeaky clean or is a little PG-13 or R rated material specific for your group? Do you want a show that is interactive and involves members of the audience? How long of a show do you want? (Planning hint: Most after dinner shows run between 45-60 minutes, any longer and you risk your audience getting restless). Does the performer have to work with any special performance restrictions (is the show outside, is space limited, etc)? All of these items on your list should be used to screen potential entertainment choices.
You can start your search for entertainers online. There is no shortage of entertainers with websites. If you find a site of an entertainer that interests you, contact the entertainer to find out their fees, availability, and to see if they are able to meet your list of criteria. If they are not on the web site, be sure to ask for references or letters of recommendation from past clients. If the performer is a true corporate entertainer, they will have already performed for a client in the same industry as your company. Also, be sure to convey any special requests or potentially unique situations about your event with the booking manager before signing any contracts. Conversely, it is also important to ask what the entertainer is going to need you to supply for the performance. This will allow you to budget for any audio visual or staging rental needs, and avoid any unpleasant last minute surprises.
When you are searching online for an entertainer, beware of directory sites such as Gigmasters, who list thousands of entertainers who have paid to advertise on the site. Many of these websites will take your contact information and send them to dozens of their entertainers, and you will be barraged with emails and calls from entertainers you are not even interested in.
The Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resorts both have live entertainment complexes that organize entertainment for the theme parks as well as for conventions held on resort property. If you are holding your event at a hotel or venue on one of these theme park properties, you can ask your site contact about entertainment options available.The positive side of booking theme park entertainers is that it allows you to bring a little bit of the theme park magic to your convention guests. The drawback is that you will be paying a premium for entertainment that your guests could often see for free while visiting the parks.