Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the GDA of GDA Speakers?
GDA Speakers began in 1999 as Gail Davis & Associates. Founded on the strength of one speaker, the incomparable Nando Parrado, the bureau now has relationships with the top speakers from around the globe. We have vetted those speakers and curated a number of highly qualified speakers who we trust and deliver with confidence to our clients.
Why a bureau?
We often compare our industry to real estate. Anyone can buy a home or book a speaker going direct or using online resources.
Gail Davis started GDA in 1999. Prior to that she had spent 20 as a corporate event planner. At one of the large events she had managed, Christopher Reeve was booked as one of their three keynotes. He had a blood clot, was hospitalized and unable to attend their event. At the time Gail was very grateful to the speaker bureaus she was using. While she handled the CEO, the board of directors and the 500 attendees, the bureau handled getting their replacement to Palm Springs.
Our company was founded 20 years ago, in 1999. Gail had 20 years large scale corporate experience before starting her own company. She has played many roles in IASB (International Association of Speakers Bureaus), including President. All IASB members adhere to a strict code of conduct. The association has a process for dealing with Ethics complaints. We have a STRONG logistics team behind our sales efforts. This ensures that we follow up on EVERY detail to ensure well executed events. We are committed to sharing best practices with our client partners.
Can’t you find a speaker on the internet?
Absolutely. The Internet is a great research tool. However, working with GDA Speakers you will be given proven recommendations based on research you won’t find online. Once we understand your goals, our recommendations will utilize your time and our long-term relationships will ensure a strong connection between the speaker and your event. From fees and travel details to real audience reactions, we have a depth of knowledge to take you from finding a speaker to creating an experience.
Do speakers speak for free?
Some do and some don’t…
Although you may be able to reach to a speaker through a personal connection, there is always a higher risk for cancellation if they have another professional obligation come up.
Can we negotiate the fee? Many speakers have a strong commitment to fee integrity. However, there are some variables that can sometimes be taken into consideration. For example, event exposure, book tours, and travel schedules. If the perfect speaker for your event is slightly out of reach, we will partner with you to create the most attractive offer and present it to the speaker.
What happens if a speaker cancels? Cancellations are very rare in this industry. In our experience speakers will do almost anything to ensure they make it to the event – we’ve even had an exclusive speaker charter a plane to make it to an event after his flight was canceled. Speakers know it’s their job to get there! However, there are times when emergencies or illness cause a cancellation. Times like these are rare, but it’s important to know that GDA Speakers is always prepared. We utilize our knowledge and contacts to quickly find excellent replacement options for you and work to ensure the event is a total success.
What % does GDA charge?
The majority of the time the percentage is established by the speaker. Our industry is based on the concept that speakers charge a consistent fee and pay bureaus for the bookings from the standard fee because they view the bureaus as an extension of their marketing. Again, our business is much like real estate… sometimes we are the listing agent, sometimes we are the buying agent and sometimes we are both. Given that reality, the commission varies between 10% - 25%. Speakers who have a strong bureaus base of business will charge clients the exact same fee for direct booking that they charge when the event is booked by a bureau. Some celebrity speakers quote their fees in net vs. gross. In those instances, the bureaus use their discretion to determine the markup.