The Busy Mom’s Guide to Shopping for Holiday Party Entertainment

Maybe you’re planning a big family holiday party, or maybe you’re part of a holiday party planning committee for your club or employer and you want to dazzle your guests with outstanding live entertainment.  But if you’re like most people you don’t have much experience in finding and selecting party entertainers.  Here’s how you can find the right performers for your party.

Ask around. Outside of personal experience, the very best way to find a great entertainer is by referral. An entertainment company can easily produce a slick looking website that makes them look like experienced event professionals even if they’re not.  Don’t be fooled by marketing gimmicks.  Ask other people in your organization what recommendations of people that they personally worked with. Talk to friends and relatives and ask for suggestions.  This is where online social networks can come in handy.  Just post “can anyone recommend a great magician for our office party in December?” on Facebook or LinkedIn and you might be amazed by the quality and quantity of suggestions you get.

Interview.  Before you call your local party entertainment company or individual artist, plan out a few questions.  Find out if this performer has ever entertained for a group like yours before.  How did it go?  How could they have done it better?  You’ll get great feedback that will help you plan a better party.  Try to find an entertainer who is thoroughly experienced at, and genuinely enthusiastic about entertaining for your type of event. Some entertainers work well with an older crowd but aren’t so great with kids and vice a versa.

References. Don’t be shy; ask for professional references from any entertainment company you are considering. If they can’t or won’t supply you with references that you can check on, you may want to choose someone else. Next, call up and speak to the individuals listed as references.  It’s a great way for you to get any true sense of what type of entertainment you can expect and very often the people you are speaking to may be able to suggest alternatives as well.

Shop around. It’s tempting to go with the first offer that sounds reasonable but if you’re planning an important event you owe it to yourself and your guests to do more homework. Speak to a minimum of three different entertainment companies about your party.  You’ll get a broad range of prices and services. Many times you can end up saving quite a bit of money just by checking around.

Shop early. Talent booker’s and the entertainers that they represent love to fill up their calendar months in advance.  If you are willing to give a deposit right away you can often negotiate quite a bargain.

Bulk orders. When possible try to book all the entertainment from the same each and see in order to get a volume discount. Rather than hiring a magician from one place and a DJ from another, see if you can get a better price by hiring both from the same talent agency.

Entertainment Ideas. Before you hire entertainment, be sure you know who’s coming to the party and what the mood and atmosphere will be like. An afternoon party for families will probably appreciate shows that are oriented to children.  Funny variety acts like jugglers, ventriloquists, magicians or animal acts are lots of fun for kids and adults. For evening parties with young adults focus on music. A DJ or a live band is essential but make sure you match the music to the tastes of the crowd.

Author Bio: Brian McGovern is in NYC magician who are currently appears at holiday parties. He performs sleight-of-hand and magic in Brooklyn and all over Long Island.
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