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How not to blow your speaker budget

While your budget for speakers may not be big, these ideas provide some strategies for booking the speaker you want now, regardless of the size of your budget.

Buy in bulk When you find a speaker who is a good match, find out about the possibility of booking them for a series of events at a favourable fee. Professional speaking is incredibly competitive with a limited number of annual events available for speaking opportunities. If you are providing a speaker with the security of advanced bookings, they may well be open to a very fair reduction in their standard fees.

Hire speakers with a broad offering Find speakers who can also moderate, emcee or host different sessions at your event in addition to providing a keynote. Booking fewer speakers can help you save on expenses as many speakers' full-day fees are not much more than their standard keynote fees. Get your speaker to include resources, webinars and books as part of the deal.

Sell speakers' products Allow your speaker to sell books, resources and training material on-site following their presentation, at a designated time in the programme. Your speaker may be an author or he or she may have comprehensive training programmes to sell on CD or DVD. Speakers will often reduce their fees in exchange for being able to market and sell their products to delegates.

Book in advance Another way to save money on a popular speaker is to book a year in advance of your event, so that you can secure them at their current rate. Since some of the most popular speakers have raised their fees substantially over the years, booking in advance will allow you to secure tomorrow's speakers at today's prices.

Piggyback your bookings Other than booking a speaker who lives in the same city as your conference, another way to minimise travel expenses is to do a “piggyback booking” and book a speaker whose expenses are already contractually covered by another company. You can call your convention centre manager to get the names of other in-house groups who will be at the same hotel on overlapping dates. You can then find out which speakers they’ve booked and see if you can book the same speakers at times that don’t clash with the other events. The cost of a well-known speaker can often double after adding expenses such as airfare, transport and meals. Alternatively you could ask a popular speaker to keep you posted on their travel schedule, and book them for one of your events should they be in town at the same time.


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