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Event Registration Using Event Espresso

There are few things that frustrate a seasoned event planner more than having to deal with a shitty event registration system. They are crappy for a number of reasons:

  • Some are overpriced, most of the “software as a service” companies fall into this category
  • Some are built by Bob (the guy in I.T.) and barely work
  • Some just suck because they exist…. Everything is wrong with them from registration to reporting

On the flip side, there are times when you have to put up with this overpriced crap and we all know it. There is the event that has 15,000 attendees, there are events that have hyper-complex if/then, conditional registration components and there are events that simply call for a $10,000 solution… just like Porno.. you will know it when you see it and when you need it, you need to call out the big guns because although we like to complain about the overpriced solutions, they are useful and have their place so I won’t go on knocking them.

But what about the 99% of events that are not rocket science, that are not complex and that really should be easy but are not because most registration systems are like an over engineered car;  too smart for their own good?

This is where a good plugin can come in handy and will come in handy if you have moved your event or conference website to WordPress. Wait…..you have moved your conference website to WordPress right? Or are you still paying that overpriced dude like $100.00 an hour just to change a semicolon or put up a blog post…..anyway, I digress.

We are here to talk about Event Espresso, a WordPress Plugin that I found while looking for, what else, unique registration solutions for WordPress.

Here is a look at what their website says:

Event Espresso is the premier event registration, ticketing and entire management solution for WordPress. Event Espresso is designed to meet your needs. Everything in Event Espresso is based on user feedback and hundreds of hours of hard work.

Event Espresso can potentially save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year in fees and hidden charges. No need to pay monthly fees and/or percentages of each registration. You are in control of your own registration information. Since Event Espresso is built using the existing WordPress framework, user registrations are saved to the WordPress database on your server. You have complete unadulterated control of your data.

The plugin has a nifty bunch of features that can handle most event chores:

  • Custom event titles and descriptions
  • Event start and end dates
  • Event start and end times, multiple start times
  • Registration start and end dates
  • Multiple pricing options (e.g., upgraded registration and surcharges)
  • Member pricing options (e.g., member discounts)
  • Event locations and maps
  • Duplicate events for time savings
  • Ongoing events
  • Attendee registration limits
  • Group registrations, one payment with multiple registrants
  • Member-only events
  • Registration discounts, percentage or dollar amount discounts
  • Email registration and payment confirmations
  • Custom form builder for custom registration questions

I tested Event Espresso because I am on the board of one of our fine industry association’s local chapters and I am currently moving our website to WordPress. I can tell you that for our events it is going to work well.

The setup and implementation on my Sandbox Site took about 15 minutes end to end and it worked like a charm with no hiccups, not a one.

Basically you do the following:

  • Install the Plugin
  • Follow the instructions and set up your payment information
  • Create the necessary pages, for my event, I had to build three basic pages
  • Create your event registration form
  • Open registration

I think that the most important thing is that it worked, it worked well and it is not going to set us back all of the money that other systems want to charge us. For our small association, that means a lot and can be the difference between ending in the black or hopefully breaking even.

If you have a sandbox site, I would recommend trying it out and seeing what you can do with it, you will be pleasantly surprised. Event Espresso comes in three versions:

  • Lite (free)
  • Basic License ($59.95)
  • Developer License ($199.95)

There are many differences in the versions, you can jump right to the heart of it at their website here. Even if you do not have a sandbox site, I had no problems with the plugin and it did not even give me the impression that it was thinking about doing something funky so you should feel pretty confident about installing Event Espresso.

You can learn more about them here and have a happy registration day!

Full Disclosure – At the time I wrote this post, I did not have a relationship with Event Espresso, in the months following this post, I wrote another post with 9 Event Registration Plugins, then a couple of more months past and then I decided to become an affiliate because the plugin works well.