What are the benefits of booking with an agent?
Agents don’t always have the best of reputations – and in many cases we feel that is justified and “cowboy” agents simply give genuine agents a bad name.
Using a reputable company means you get the experience of someone who knows what they are talking about – able to recommend the right people for your event, and steer you away from the wrong ones. We often hear stories of comedians who have not suited an event but were booked simply because somebody “had their card!”
We also offer invaluable advice on any aspect of running your event that you are unsure of, from running orders, ticket prices etc.
Finally, you get written confirmation reflecting the booking conditions and the back up that we will resolve any problems and an office that is open normal business hours, with 24 hour emergency cover.
How do I know the speaker will turn up?
Ultimately, you have to trust that we won’t let you down. We have personal relationships with our speakers and once agreement is reached, the booking is in their diary and no other booking will take precedence. There are obviously exceptional circumstances when a speaker may have to pull out of a booking (see Potential Reasons for Cancellation by the Speaker) but this really is a very rare occurrence.
What happens if the speaker pulls out of my event?
Sometimes you only see the value of an agent when something goes wrong! If a speaker does cancel, we pull out all the stops in order to find a suitable replacement for your event and look to limit the damage this will have on your event. Where a reason is genuine, audiences understand; where there is cause for recompense, we mediate to find an agreeable settlement. Where a speaker lies in order to release himself from a booking, you have our total support in order to process a claim against that person.
What happens if we cancel our event?
Cancellation is always a tricky situation. If you have already read our terms of business you will note the ramifications of cancelling an event at very short notice. These are worst case scenarios however. When booking a professional artiste they are “professional” and hence rely on bookings to make an income. It is very unfortunate when a booking is cancelled at short notice, and even more upsetting when the event was a charitable one, however we cannot stress enough that it is unreasonable to presume that no cancellation fee ought to be paid. After all, how would you like to get a phone call from your employer one day, only to be informed you weren’t required for the next week and wouldn’t therefore be paid. An artiste may only entertain for 45mins, but they are actually “working” for upto 12 hours, when travel and waiting are included. It is also the case that most professional artistes do not work 5 day weeks, and usually expect only a minimum of 2 bookings per week. A short notice cancellation of one of those bookings can effectively halve their weekly wage.
Seems a long winded explanation but do bear this in mind when making a booking. In the case of cancellation, we then would look to negotiate a happy compromise for all parties, which in some instances is nothing, and in most cases would equate to 50% of the contracted fee for short notice bookings. We will work on your behalf as well as the artistes in order to achieve a fair outcome for all parties.
In summary, cancellation is not black and white but do expect to pay something on a sliding scale based on the various factors surrounding the cancellation.
Isn’t it more expensive to use an agency like After Dinner World Ltd?
You would think so but in fact it is cheaper. Yes – the reality is that we know the typical rates for artistes. That means you pay what everyone else pays – or less. Research tells us that it is much harder to negotiate with a celebrity directly than through an agency. You don’t want to offend them so accept their quoted fee - even if it’s way more than their usual charge.
What should be pointed out is that most speakers and comedians are not registered for VAT and therefore any quotes you receive which apply VAT in addition can often be an agency adding a booking charge on to the fee. We do NOT work in this way, and as an agency work on a commission from the artiste. The result being that they earn less, rather than you pay more!
Are there any additional charges for booking a speaker?
In all cases, the price you are quoted by After Dinner World Ltd is the price you will pay based on the information supplied at the time of quotation. In exceptional circumstances, the speaker may request a hotel room providing free of charge – and in other cases may charge a travel subsidy. You will be advised of these charges prior to making the booking and hence can make an informed decision on whether to go ahead or not. Certain agencies include travel in their small print and soon after the event has taken place you end up with an invoice for £500 travel costs! Not fair in my opinion.
How do we pay?
In most cases we ask you to pay on the night by cash directly to the artistes. You can also pay in advance by cheque – to the individual speakers, or via our secure clients’ account, where it will remain until the event has taken place and everyone is happy.
We do charge a 15% deposit to new clients in order to secure the bookings and this can now be paid using PAYPAL, or by cheque / BACS to After Dinner World Ltd.
Potential Reasons for Cancellation by the Speaker
There are a few occasions when for reasons beyond our control, the speaker or comedian may withdraw from the booking you have made. These situations are very few and far between and with the exception of medical issues result in enough notice to rearrange the event, or accept a change of speaker.
“Professional Engagements Permitting”
In many cases, where a speaker is contracted to Sky, BBC or ITV, they are only allowed to accept speaking engagements whereby they can be recalled to media work at any time. Notice would usually be at least 4 weeks but broadcasters do have the power to call on them at any time. This clause is very rarely invoked however
We rarely have occasion when a speaker is too ill to attend as most will battle through minor illness so as not to let anyone down, however there are times when they simply are too ill to work and could not give value to you as the booker.
Again rare, but family illness, death and other personal matters could result in a short notice request for cancellation. We will always keep you informed of the situation and resolve it with a suitable replacement.
“Flights and Travel”
Bookings are taken in good faith and whilst severe traffic can create delays, it rarely results in a non appearance. Where delayed, we will keep you informed and estimate an arrival time. In extreme cases, such as the grounding of flights, there is simply nothing anyone can do if the speaker is stuck in Florida and unable to return through no fault of their own.
Snow and ice are about the only things that may prevent a speaker from setting out from home. In certain cases the event would have been postponed anyway – in others, we would offer a replacement speaker based much closer to the event as cover.