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How to Navigate Talent Pricing for Your Next Event

  • By Lauren
  •  Nov 20, 2020

Booking talent for an event can feel overwhelming. From finding the perfect talent to negotiating a contract, there are many steps to securing a great speaker that exceeds your goals for your event and matches your budget. 

There are many cost factors that affect what talent charge for an appearance. Travel compensation, event length, and type of event can all impact how talent value their time. As COVID-19 continues to put a temporary hold on in-person events, many cost factors such as travel compensation and geographic location are no longer relevant to pricing talent for an event. 

While you can book a great speaker for your event for as little as $5,000, some speakers charge $200k plus for an event. In addition to event-related cost factors, there are also other factors that affect how much you will have to shell out to book talent for an event. Talent background, caliber, and speaking tenure all impact the price talent request for an appearance. 

Below is a list of tips to successfully navigate talent pricing for your next event: 

1. Know your budget, and don't search for talent outside of it

When shopping for a new car, you don't test-drive a Bugatti when you're looking to buy a practical SUV. You should also follow this code when looking to book talent for an event. If your budget is $10,000 for a 1-hour appearance, you should use tools to search for talent within that price range.

On most talent websites, there are search filter tools that allow you to only search for talent within a certain price range. Engage allows you to filter for price ranges from 0 - $5,000, $5,000 - $10,000, $10,000 - $20,000, and $20,000+. While these prices are estimates and you won't know a final number until you submit a formal request, these search tools are a great starting point.

2. Avoid third-party moderators when possible

Many talent booking websites are outdated and make it difficult to get a clear picture of how much talent will cost. Many booking sites do not offer a way to submit a direct request for talent, forcing potential clients to submit inquiries to a 'general contact page' that has no direct reach to the talent. 

In order to avoid these roadblocks that make negotiations messy and difficult, use booking platforms like Engage that allow you to submit a request directly to talent and sign a contract all in one digital, easy-to-use platform. The earlier you can get in contact with talent, the faster you will know what their appearance will cost you. 

3. Know the cost factors

As explained earlier, there are many cost factors that affect talent pricing for an event. While in-person events often involve travel, food, and lodging expenses, this new digital world can make talent pricing more streamlined. 

Even if you are booking talent for a digital event, there will still be cost factors including type of event, number of attendees, and length of the appearance. Many talent will have different pricing for a keynote speech versus a more interactive event, so make sure you know what you are looking for ahead of time. 

4. Don't be afraid to negotiate

While some speakers have a strict no-negotiating policy, many talent have had to adapt to succeed in the COVID-19 era. As everything will continue to be remote for the foreseeable future, you may be able to book high-caliber talent for a more affordable price than during normal times. 

Cost savings can also be accomplished in other ways. For example, favorable terms can be negotiated if the speaker is hired for more than one event. In addition, speakers may offer discounts or lower rates if you have valuable goods, services or perks to trade for their time or if you purchase some of their products.

For more information and to book talent for your next event, visit the Engage website at