In the late ‘90’s business publications began publishing articles about how the “Internet is Cutting Out Middlemen.” Here’s an example- https://www.forbes.com/1998/08/21/feat.html?sh=4a4e30154ff0.
Of course, the trend has continued and continued to accelerate, right up until today. First GigMasters (now The Bash) and later GigSalad (which helps hundreds of Santas book many thousands of appearances each season) and then there are all of the Santas who have created websites and social media marketing programs in order to ‘self-book their appearances… and now, looking back at 2020 and seeing the many ‘virtual visit’ companies that directly hired their Santa & Mrs. Claus ‘talent’, it seems that the writing is on the wall.
So what does all of this mean to us Santas?
Well, ALL of the Santas I have talked to said they were paid more when they were hired directly by the mall, sporting goods store, photographer, company, family, etc. than when they were placed by a booking agency. They also mentioned how much better it was to coordinate directly with the client than with a middleman (person) and when booking their own visits Santas liked knowing that their customers were ‘theirs’ rather than ‘belonging to’ the booking agent.
While this trend has been gaining ground for over 20 years, much like ‘video chats’ or what we’re now calling ‘virtual visits’ or ‘virtual experiences’, 2020 just may have been a tipping point that causes a rapid increase in the number of people and organization who book Santas directly rather going through a temp agency/booking agency.
With this in mind, you may want to spend this ‘off-season’ time refining your marketing materials, booking agreements, online profiles, etc.
One more thing, many Santas have mentioned they were very surprised to learn that they could increase their rates by 50 to 100% and still be in the price range that agents had been charging for their services.