WordPress as a website platform offers many awesome features for publishing a blog or building a basic website out of the box. However, something that’s sorely lacking for event managers is the ability to offer event registration and ticketing on their site. Therefore, if you want to sell tickets to your events, you’ll need to choose a plugin that is dedicated to event registration and ticketing.
The good news is that there are plenty of event registration plugins available, so many in fact, that it can be difficult to find the one that’s ideal for you. The easiest way to pick the best tool is to thoroughly compare the most significant pros and cons of the top event plugins. Recommendations from friends and colleagues is a good place to start your search, but just because one event plugin was right for one event organizer and their website, your situation might be different, and another event plugin might work better for you.
Why Picking the Right Event Plugin Matters
Before we start comparing specific event plugins, let’s first discuss why finding the right tool for event registration is so important in the first place. As with any other WordPress plugin, you’ll want to make sure the one you choose has all the features you require.
Naturally, every site and type of event will have its own unique requirements. Even so, there are a few key features you’ll need from your event plugin, regardless of the type of events it will handle.
First and foremost, your plugin has to give you the ability to let users register for events and purchase tickets. As such, it needs to be able to process payments, and also provide the means to manage lists of attending guests and information about each event, along with automating communication with the attendee about their purchase or registration.
That represents the absolute baseline of functionality, however, and a top event plugin will usually offer additional features. For example, you might want to use a mobile app to scan tickets and monitor attendance or sell merchandise alongside tickets. The more “nice to have” features like this that your event plugin provides, the better, but first focus on your requirements.
Introducing the Event Plugins: The Events Calendar vs. Event Espresso
With all of that in mind, let’s see how two popular event plugins measure up. The first one we’ll be looking at is The Events Calendar:
As the name suggests, this plugin lets you create a calendar for your events. When you install the plugin, a basic calendar will be added to your site automatically. You can then fill it with events, and customize your calendar’s appearance using templates.
When it comes to key features, The Events Calendar:
- Creates a calendar for events automatically
- Enables you to create new events
- Lets you save venues and organizers
- Offers an easy-to-use, plug-and-play solution
Next up, we have Event Espresso:
This is a fully-featured event registration plugin. It not only lets you create events, but it also enables you to sell tickets directly on your site. You can process payments, and even send an automated email whenever a sale is made.
Event Espresso’s key features include that it:
- Provides a fully-integrated event registration solution
- Enables you to sell tickets and process payments
- Sends automatic confirmation emails
- Includes mobile apps for scanning tickets and monitoring attendance
Naturally, this is only scratching the surface of what these two plugins do. To find out more, we recommend that you take a look at each tool’s website, to learn more about its capabilities.
Pricing for The Events Calendar vs Event Espresso
Both of these plugins offer free versions, which contain plenty of functionality. For instance, the free tier of The Events Calendar includes everything you need to set up your calendar and start adding events. However, if you want to sell tickets and accept payments, you will need to purchase a premium plan:
These start at $89 per year for a single site. This premium version expands the plugin’s base functionality to include ticket selling, recurring events, and so on. On the other hand, the free plugin is a good pick if you just want a simple, informative calendar but don’t need to actually sell tickets.
In contrast, Event Espresso’s free plugin (aptly named Decaf) includes what you need for getting started with ticket sales, managing attendees, accepting online payments with PayPal, and setting up your events. This plugin also provides several premium plans with additional features:
These start at $79.95 per year for one site. When you purchase the premium version, you also get access to an event calendar, additional payment gateways, the ability to create multiple types of tickets, and even tax administration.
How to Pick the Right Event Plugin for Your Site
As we alluded to earlier, the plugin you decide to use will depend largely on your requirements. In this case, The Events Calendar offers a simple way to create an attractive and customizable calendar on your site. It’s a useful plug-and-play solution, but if you want to actually sell tickets to your events, you’ll need to purchase a premium plan.
In contrast, Event Espresso’s focus is quite different. Using the free plugin will let you create events, sell tickets, accept payments, and manage your attendance right out of the box. If you want more features, such as a calendar or additional payment and ticketing options, the premium version will provide those as well.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for an easy option to create a calendar for your WordPress site, The Event Calendar is a solid choice. However, if you want a fully-featured solution that helps you manage events and sell tickets and registrations, Event Espresso is more likely to meet your needs.
No matter what type of site you’re running, at some point you may need to set up some kind of event registration functionality. Whether you’re planning a concert, a charity event, a conference, or a workshop, you’ll need a tool that lets you register attendance and sell tickets.
In this article, we’ve compared two plugins that help you add new features to your site: The Events Calendar and Event Espresso. They each provide very different functionality, however. Whereas the former is handy for creating a stylish calendar on your site, Event Espresso delivers a fully-featured event and ticket processing solution for event organizers that choose WordPress.
Do you have any questions about which of these plugins you should choose for your WordPress event site? Let us know in the comments section below!
This post was written by:
Will Morris is a staff writer at WordCandy.co. When he’s not writing about WordPress, he likes to gig his stand-up comedy routine on the local circuit.