Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a significant transformation in the events we’re booking at VaynerSpeakers. With the digital era upon us, trends have shifted and we are witnessing a unique phenomenon – a decrease in advanced notice for speaker bookings. If you are working in events, I’m curious if you noticed this trend too.
Is Less Advanced Notice The New Normal?
For about a decade, I found speaking engagements were typically booked 6-8 months, if not a year, in advance. This was beneficial for both parties; speakers had ample time to prepare their schedules, and event planners could construct and publicize their agendas well ahead of time.
However, recent years have seen this timeline compress significantly. More often than not, speakers are being booked with far less advanced notice than ever before. It’s not uncommon now to see keynotes and panelists being confirmed only weeks or even days ahead of an event. For instance, Steven Weinreb recently booked Amy Landino for an international event 72 hours before the event date!
What Caused this Shift??
This shift can be attributed to a few factors. The pandemic-induced rise in virtual events has played a significant role. With no need for travel, the logistical complexities that necessitated booking speakers early have diminished.
Furthermore, in our fast-paced, always-connected society, trends and interests change quickly. Booking speakers closer to the event date allows organizers to remain on the pulse, keeping their events relevant and engaging. This agility can be a valuable competitive edge in an increasingly saturated events market.
Lastly, let’s not discount the impact the volatile economy has had on our space. With budgets tightening following significant layoffs across most industries, it’s hard for event planners to anticipate how their budgets will change over the course of a year.
Navigating the Short-Notice Booking Era
Despite the challenges that come with short-notice speaker bookings, maintaining flexibility in event design, having a specific vision for your ideal speaker, and a good relationship with a speakers bureau can help mitigate the risks involved with booking on a short timeline.
We recommend designing your event structure with flexibility in mind. Speakers appreciate the ability to navigate a speaking time around preferred flights to minimize time away from home, that became so much more common during the pandemic.
By having a precise idea of what you are looking for from a speaker, rather than fixating on one specific person, you can pivot between options without losing out on your ultimate goal of bringing in a speaker for your event.
Lastly, and I’ve noticed this when dealing with great partners which can only come organically over time, but the ability to communicate efficiently and have trust in one another allows for a quicker and smoother booking process when it comes to short term bookings.
Prepare for Tomorrow, Today
The shift to shorter notice speaker bookings is a clear reflection of our dynamic, fast-paced world. Although this trend presents challenges, it also brings opportunities for event planners to create engaging, timely, and relevant events. It allows us to have experience and preparation for quick turnaround booking, when a speaker is forced to cancel an event, which while we all bemoan, it is a natural part of the business. We can navigate this new landscape with confidence and continue to deliver unforgettable experiences for our audiences.
Remember, change is the only constant, and adaptability is the key to success in any industry – event planning is no different. As we navigate this shift, let’s embrace the opportunity to learn, adapt, and continue creating impactful events. While this shift is undeniable, whether it remains the normal way of doing business is anybody’s guess.