How are fees being adjusted for virtual appearances?

Gail Davis, 02 June 2020

It seems intuitive that since speakers aren’t appearing in person, fees would go down. After all, the time for travel and time away from home have disappeared. But the answer isn’t as cut and dry as that.

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind from both the client’s and speaker’s points of view.

1. Supply and Demand
As the saying goes, time is money. And while all travel is practically at a standstill, preparation for virtual presentations are drastically different from in-person gatherings. Speakers are spending significantly more time to be more engaging and mindful of their audience. Additionally, new content is being generated to address the current and evolving environment.

Perhaps your speaker also has had to heavily invest in equipment (like upgraded video equipment and internet speed) to ensure that your booking meets everyone’s high expectations and runs smoothly. Admittedly even with these things in mind, many speakers are booking at a discounted rate to fill up their calendars. So, as supply and demand levels go up and down, so will your speaker’s fee.

2. Local Fees
Fees are a fact of life. Regardless of a pandemic, they still live on. If a speaker had a local fee pre-COVID-19, that fee is still likely relevant. Of course, if a fee involves travel expenses, those can be negotiated out of a contract.

3. Customizations and Add-ons
By booking a speaker for your engagement, you begin a conversation about your goals for the event. This doesn’t change if it’s now changed to a virtual opportunity, so answers to the following kinds of questions can affect cost.  

  • How much time will it take to customize your presentation, including rehearsal and research?
  • Do you want a teaser video to hook the audience? Or maybe a follow-up campaign to continue increasing engagement?
  • Do you require a unique approach or in-depth data presented in a white paper? For example, one speaker told us he would typically approach a white paper by recommending both qualitative and quantitative research. Based on the sample size, survey and approach, he could dial in a very specific quote on the white paper.

Obviously original research would impact the price, as would many customizations and add-ons which meet your goals and improve your end result for any audience.

4. Rehearsal
A smooth presentation occurs after thorough rehearsals. Just like with any other event, a walkthrough that includes sound check, detailed order of event and more is crucial for success. Furthermore, please keep in mind that you may be asking your speaker to use technology to stream the presentation that he or she has never used before. Don’t fall into the trap that a “walkthrough” is unnecessary- even if it isn’t literal anymore.

We know you’re busy changing or planning your special event. The good news is that your speaker is ready to work with you through all of this. By keeping these four points in mind, working together we can accomplish a successful booking and event.