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Key Elements for Successfully Growing a Booking Agency

How to ensure client happiness and expand through reputation

Booking agents often perform a thankless job that happens mostly in the shadows. While agents are typically racing around hammering out details and putting out small fires, the best agents hide the brush strokes and make it seem like it’s all just part of the plan. At the end of the day, successful agencies do whatever needs to be done to keep the musical talent happy and ensure the show goes on.

Beyond just being the ones who handle logistics, booking agents can become almost an extension of a band itself as trust develops. Agencies that regularly find exciting opportunities, utilize the best management technology, and build confidence with clients can organically expand the business with minimal self-promotion. While every agency has different needs, many of the same principles apply to agencies of any size.

Be a clear (and versatile) communicator

Clear communication is essential in any field, but what does that mean for a booking agent in the hyperkinetic music world? More than ever, booking agents need to be flexible communicators willing to utilize whatever communicational method is necessary. Being at least competent in all traditional forms of business communication—verbal, non-verbal, written, and visual—is now more critical than in any previous era.

Doing that effectively often requires feeling out the contacts you are working with early in the process. Is a concert promoter you’re working with someone who wants everything done over the phone? Is video chat the better way to go? While many contacts prefer live communication, others prefer only to use text, email, or a software platform to communicate—ensuring a record to reference later on.

The sheer number of ways to communicate these days can also overcomplicate things, but that’s also an easy hurdle for a versatile agent. It also helps to have the tech foundation in place, allowing you to organize communication with new contacts you’re negotiating with effortlessly. Ultimately, communication is a way to prove how pliable you are in service of the client; versatile agents will forge the best relationships with new industry contacts and have an edge in negotiations.

Get ahead of new developments and stay ready for the future

While effective communication is one of the first ways to showcase your agency’s professional operation, understanding industry developments is critical to represent clients successfully. As we move into the next era of live concerts, keep the following in mind:

  • Social media promotion has reached maturity
  • Livestreaming isn’t going away post-Covid
  • Technical solutions let you focus on core elements of the business

Some significant new trends and roles have been added to the live-concert equation over the last decade, with many of the trends fully taking shape in just a few years. At the top of that list is the critical importance of social media; with a range of platforms offering different experiences, the age of social media has fully kicked into high gear. For music, embracing social media influencers and having a good handle on all the leading platforms is now mandatory. It also helps to understand that audiences might expect interactive musical experiences, making it critical to find ways to help connect musicians to fan bases via social media.

Beyond being competent across the board in social media, booking agents also understand the potential of live streaming—even after returning to venues in the post-pandemic world. Livestreaming can add a sizeable revenue stream to the mix but also is a way to connect faraway fans with clients. Even though most booking agents don’t need to be experts in live streaming, respecting the trend and seeing how it can positively impact a client is a path to success.

The same can be said of upgrading old-school organizational methods. While a system may have served you well for years, the occasional audit of a system’s efficiency is an important way to stay current. With the ability to streamline communications and access real-time updates, booking agents now have the tools to minimize busy work and focus on what matters: paving the way for a client to succeed.  

Finding the best opportunities for the band

In the world of social media dominance, live streaming, and the always-increasing number of festivals, there are now endless opportunities to promote a client. But it’s also important to remember that the first opportunity is not always the best; keeping a client away from the wrong option can be as valuable as landing the right one. A classic example is that, for many clients, opening for an established band can have more forward-looking value than headlining a show with limited reach.

This is why cultivating relationships with festival promoters and venue managers can be extremely rewarding. If you’re on the same page with a festival promoter, for example, they will be incentivized to put your client in a position to succeed. More importantly, for a small or growing booking agency, a successful transaction with a promoter can be a highway to repeat business—the lifeblood of the entire music industry.

Landing the right opportunities for a band can take considerable legwork and planning, but it can also be highly gratifying. You never know when a seemingly small public outreach can turn into a viral moment that instantly drums up interest. Agents who are efficient in communication and organization can spend more time landing that one opportunity that makes the difference.

Embrace the hunt for the right travel accommodations

Booking agents have enough on their plate, which can make the oft-tedious role of finding travel accommodations seem like nothing more than a hassle. But even though booking travel logistics can be time-consuming, doing it well can be an opportunity to show a client you’re willing to go the extra mile. Some general principles when booking travel accommodations for a musician or band include:

  • Always know the type of client you have
  • Do whatever you can to let the client focus on the concert
  • Don’t overload the travel schedule
  • Allow for problems and downtime
  • Make that extra phone call

Crafting relationships has always been essential for any booking agency, and creating travel plans will test how well you know the client. Many musicians will not care much about where they stay, while others might be heavily critical if it’s not what they had in mind. Above all, however, is one unwavering principle: clients don’t want to worry about travel basics when they have a big show to think about.

This is precisely why you must make travel plans to consider various factors very carefully. Having tie-in events in the lead-up to a concert is excellent, although failing to plan for something like traffic properly can make hopping from events stressful. Mixing in enough events while allowing occasional hiccups is key to success when planning travel logistics.

It also helps to make that extra phone call to hammer down a detail you’re unsure about. Something as simple as speaking to a hotel concierge to get the local spin can help avoid problems and keep your client on schedule—especially if you’re in an unfamiliar location.

Finding your path to success as a booking agency

Regrettably, there is no surefire path to success as a booking agent. In an always-evolving industry where trends shift at TikTok speed, there will always be an element of figuring it out as you go along. New opportunities may look entirely different from old ones.

But agencies with flexible agents willing to dig into the groundwork will find themselves in an excellent position. Even though it’s a big field, agencies that can handle the inevitable hurdle while recognizing industry changes will gain a reputation fitting the operation. By being as efficient as possible on the more tedious side of logistical planning, an agency can dedicate the time it takes to help clients reach their potential.

With an eye on improving efficiency, cutting time on some of the organizational basics can be one of the ways to maximize agent availability. Scheduling a Prism demo can help an agency see where an all-in-one software platform built by industry professionals can provide a significant edge for a growing booking agency.

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