How Much Does a Virtual Keynote Speaker Cost?

Company events and trade conferences are fun. You meet new people, get some networking time in and learn the latest industry news. You might even share dinner or have after-hours drinks with some of your new friends and contacts. And at truly memorable events, you hear from top motivational speakers in industries from social media marketing to personal finance. The most influential of these public speakers will not only invigorate you, but change the way you look at your business. 

But for event planners, it’s more complicated. Choosing the best motivational keynote speaker is especially critical. Will this be an event that changes lives and entire corporate ecosystems? Or will your speaker leave people heading to the lobby to pick up the last juice box? And with the pandemic came the question, “Can or should we have an event at all?

But with crisis comes opportunity. While the technology has been there for more than a decade to book a virtual event speaker, only recently has hiring a remote speaker become truly mainstream. The best keynote speakers in real estate, women’s leadership, executive coaching and other industries have moved their game to the virtual realm to reach ever-expanding audiences.

With pandemic restrictions winding down, corporate event planners face new questions:

  • Does it cost less to book a virtual speaker?
  • What are the advantages to hiring a remote versus an in-person speaker?
  • Are the best speakers available for virtual engagements?
  • Does booking a virtual speaker affect the terms of agreement?
  • What is a hybrid company event, and how can we leverage it to our best advantage?

How much does it cost to book a virtual speaker?

The cost of hiring a speaker varies greatly depending on the talent involved, as well as their schedule. A typical median price for a professional speaker to appear live at your event may be around $60,000, with higher-priced celebrity speakers charging $200,000 or more. 

Hiring a virtual speaker can save you money, but variables such as the speaker’s own preferences, availability and terms of service come into play when calculating cost. For instance, some speakers simply charge for the speaking engagement itself rather than taking travel time into consideration. That is in part because with a virtual event, they must handle technical issues such as studio setup, sound, lighting and other technical matters themselves rather than relying on the venue.

What are the advantages of hiring a virtual keynote speaker?

In the age of Zoom, many events occur digitally—and the advantages can be enormous. It allows all clients, staff and other invited guests to attend. Whether at home, the office or on the road, everyone can benefit from your hired speaker. Rather than paying for a venue, you can put the money toward hiring the best speaker available. Plus, digital means that your reach is limitless. With a simple email blast, you can invite anyone—including prospective clients—to learn about you and your company.

If your event is in person, such as with a conference, you can still hire a virtual speaker. That is, they present remotely for your gathered audience between live events. This sort of hybrid event may reduce speaker fees, as discussed above. It may also greatly widen your options for hiring the best public speaker available.

Hiring a virtual speaker can also make detail planning easier, though this final point is less of a consideration. Top booking agencies such as the Success Speakers Bureau will handle all of these matters for you, whether you choose to hire your speaker for a virtual or in-person presentation.

Are there disadvantages to booking for a virtual event speaker?

If you plan to hold a live conference or event, weighing whether to book an in-person or virtual speaker can pose a challenge. Some people simply learn better from an instructor or coach who is physically present. Also, booking a top speaker to appear live at your event can create more excitement among your audience and buzz in your community. This may be especially true for top celebrity speakers. And in some cases, you may want to take advantage of your speaker’s presence further by reserving executive coaching workshops or other top level meetings.

But coaching sessions and meetings can be booked digitally, too. Just include them in your terms of agreement as you would with a live speaker. Plus, at a large event, there’s a good chance that your guests will be watching an in-person speaker on a large projection screen, anyway. As long as your event has made time for your guests to move, mingle and engage in live demonstrations or workshops, a virtual keynote is a great option for your hybrid event.

How can I further reduce booking fees and still get the best speaker for my event?

The most important step you can take in getting the best keynote speaker for a reasonable fee is to plan far in advance. Begin researching keynote speakers at a year out and have someone booked six months prior to your event. That’s not to say you can’t make last minute choices, but you may not have as much of a selection of top speakers.

While planning in advance isn’t the easiest thing for everyone, the Success Speakers Bureau can help. We’ve created a list of the top speakers and executive coaches available for both in-person and virtual events. Browse the list by topic with the assurance that our 125 years of business engagement and leadership-building experience provides you with only top professionals. Or, simply contact us with your event needs and preferences. Not only can we assist with making the right choice for your event speaker, we’ll handle the booking details, too.

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