Planning a meeting in Las Vegas or attending a convention in Las Vegas and having to organize satellite events?
Booking World-Class Entertainment Acts in Las Vegas
The softening of the economy in the past two years has seen many planners in Las Vegas tone down the entertainment factor of their events. In many cases, this has meant eliminating live entertainment altogether. This has saved planners valuable budgeting dollars, but it hasn’t necessarily been to the benefit of actual attendees. In fact, many meeting professionals have reported that attendees just aren’t having the same high-level experience they have come to expect from a Las Vegas event, which usually means some form of live entertainment.

“Many planners are having to re-evaluate their process,” says Cheryl Terhune-Honore, owner of My Las Vegas Connection. “They’re starting to figure out ways to reintegrate entertainment into their events.” This is especially true of planners who are under directives not to spend too much on entertainment or to make it the emphasis of the event in general.

Planners who are looking for great entertainment while also aiming to stay on budget are turning to destination management companies (DMCs) like My Las Vegas Connection to help them find talent to showcase. DMCs have firsthand knowledge of who’s hot and who’s not, and they also know what the going rates are, which is helpful for planners who aren’t accustomed to booking entertainers on their own. Since DMCs have an established rapport with the talent that they book, they can usually arrange for their services at a much lower cost than if the planner was on their own.

There’s no question about it: Las Vegas has some of the best entertainers in the world. There’s a reason why the top prize of America’s Got Talent is a headliner show in Vegas. It’s just a matter of finding the talent that’s best suited to each individual event. In many cases, new talent doesn’t know how to represent themselves. Again, this is where DMCs and local entertainment booking companies can help planners find talented and entertaining up-and-comers that the public is familiar with from popular reality shows.

Working with a local DMC like My Las Vegas Connection is one way to ensure entertainment success. They have created alliances with proven forces in the entertainment industry and acts that have a track record of corporate event excellence. Planners should beware of referrals from individual facilities, as sometimes entertainment groups are listed for the sake of earning a commissionable referral, which means planners get the short end of the stick.

The team at My Las Vegas Connection starts the process by sitting down and gauging the planner’s objectives. Once it’s been determined what the planner is going for, then they start making contacts with entertainers who fit the bill. Budget, of course, plays a large part in creating the shortlist. If a planner can’t afford a headliner, there’s no point in starting negotiations. However, it’s recommended that if you can afford one, then go for it. It’s an investment worth its price tag, especially if this is an event that is a yearly engagement. Attendees need to be excited, and having a headliner guarantees a large gathering and builds anticipation for the next event.

Part of the reason new planners are unsure about moving ahead with entertainment is because of the misconception that a live band needs to be loud and showy and the event’s main attraction. Unless you are booking a headliner who needs to be the focus of the invitation and press material, that’s not always the case. “You don’t need to have big sound for a room,” says Terhune-Honore. “You can have a background jazz band, something that provides a good conversational backdrop. The result is a more relaxing environment that’s pleasant to network and socialize in.”

For example, take Mary Oliver, an R&B vocalist who has performed with the Platters and B.B. King. When My Las Vegas Connection gets a request for a performer that will set the mood without overpowering it, Ms. Oliver is one of the first recommendations. Every corporate client who has booked her once has booked her that very reason. If planners want to foster networking interaction at their events, they should look for performers who will allow for that while they are on stage. As the night wears on, the performer can then pick up and begin to engage the audience once the networking session is over.

Entertainment is essential to the corporate event experience, especially if the engagement is a cocktail reception or a banquet. There’s only so much attendees can do without something to keep them interested and focused on the event. There’s also the fact that Las Vegas is synonymous with having a good time, so delivering anything less would amount to a big disappointment.

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