Repeat customers can be a blessing, but they can also present a challenge.
When you have a long-standing repeat customer, you have to know how to play it. Strolling jobs are not as complicated as shows, since the guest list has usually changed from the last gig. And I find that people want to see a lot of the same tricks you did last time, because they have been talking about the tricks and telling friends about them. Of course, sometimes they want you back for the same audience and it has not been long enough between events for you to do all of the same material. So, you mix in your “B” stuff, and sometimes even your “C” stuff
I have realized that most of the repeat gigs I get occur because I managed to create a certain atmosphere, or contributed a certain energy to the party, and the client wants to re-create that energy every year. You can add “a sense of tradition” to that list as well.
A few repeat clients stand out. I have been performing at the Exxon/Mobil Christmas party for over 10 years. When I first booked the show, the agent told me that the client NEVER hires the same performer more than once, which make perfect sense to me - you want to offer your guests some variety. But they asked me back the next year, and the audiences loved my shows (usually 4). So, I had to ask myself, “Why do the prefer the same performer, over variety.”
Then there’s a Christmas party I do for Felcor Lodging & Trust. They have had ne back for 17 years!!! Some of the kids in the audience from 1999, are now coming up and introducing me to their own kids. Amazing!
And Finally, there’s the Addison Oktoberfest. I have been Emceeing and performing at this event for 28 years, and have actually made friends with bands, sound crews, and many of the guests who come every year.
These long-term repeat gigs can be challenging, but if you find the balance between new material and stuff they want to see again, they can be very rewarding. Once you figure out the REAL reason they want you back, you know what to give them; and can truly celebrate your reunion.