Mastering Event Management: How Event Espresso Transforms WordPress into a Registration Powerhouse

Few things frustrate a seasoned event planner more than having to deal with a shitty event registration system. They are crappy for several reasons:

  • Some are overpriced, and 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 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… 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 I found while looking for unique registration solutions for WordPress.

Here is a summary of them:

Event Espresso is a comprehensive event registration and ticketing management plugin designed specifically for WordPress websites. It provides a robust set of tools that cater to the needs of event organizers, allowing them to automate the registration process, manage attendee information, and streamline payments through various integrated gateways. With its customizable registration forms, Event Espresso ensures that organizers can gather all the necessary information from participants, while also offering features like automated confirmation emails, mobile ticketing, and a suite of other convenient functionalities that enhance the event experience for both organizers and attendees.

Moreover, Event Espresso is highly adaptable to various event types, supporting multiple ticket options, date and time settings, and recurring event schedules. It boasts a user-friendly interface that makes managing events straightforward, with capabilities like waitlist management, printable tickets and name badges, venue showcasing, and detailed event reporting. Whether for small gatherings or large-scale conferences, Event Espresso aims to save organizers time and money, eliminating the need for costly monthly fees while putting complete control of the event registration process in their hands.

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

  • Automated Event Registration: Streamlines the sign-up process for attendees.
  • Customizable Registration Forms: Ability to tailor registration forms to collect the necessary information.
  • Multiple Ticketing Options: Offers a range of ticket types and pricing levels.
  • Payment Processing Integration: Accepts payments through various gateways and methods.
  • Email Confirmations & Notifications: Sends automatic booking and payment confirmations.
  • Mobile Ticketing & Apps: Provides mobile options for ticket scanning and event management.
  • Attendee Management: Keeps track of attendee details and registration status.
  • Waitlist Management: Allows interested attendees to join a waitlist for full events.
  • Printable Tickets and Name Badges: Generates tickets and name badges for easy identification.
  • Venue Management: Enables organizers to showcase event venues with details and maps.
  • Event Calendar and Upcoming Events Widget: Displays events in a calendar format and widget for upcoming events.
  • Multiple Date and Time Options: Accommodates events with multiple sessions or dates.
  • Recurring Events Functionality: Simplifies the process for events that happen on a regular schedule.
  • Event Check-in: Facilitates the check-in process at the event location.
  • Seating Chart Integration: Allows the creation and management of seating arrangements.
  • Promotional and Discount Codes: The ability to create codes for discounts and promotions.
  • Social Media Integration: Encourages easy sharing of event details across social platforms.
  • Event Reporting: Provides detailed reports on registrations, transactions, and event data.
  • Multilingual Support: Offers the option to set up events in different languages.
  • Add-ons and Integrations: A wide range of add-ons to extend functionality, such as ticket scanning, payment gateways, etc.

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 (pricing as of November 2023):

  • Personal ($99.95)
  • Everything ($359.95)
  • Developer License ($359.95)

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!

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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