Event Smart vs Event Espresso: Which Event Registration Solution Is Right for You?

While there are plenty of free event registration platforms available, most of them include only basic management features. If you run a lot of events through your WordPress site, you might need the additional options that are available through certain premium solutions.

Premium event registration tools typically offer additional payment options, event calendars, and even attendee management and communication features. With a a small upfront investment, these platforms can save you a lot of time and energy over the long term.

In this post, we’ll compare two of the best event registration systems for WordPress: Event Espresso and Event Smart. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to Event Smart vs Event Espresso

Event Espresso is a ‘self-hosted’ event registration solution:

 

In other words, it’s a plugin that you can install on your existing WordPress website. It’s completely customizable and offers a wide range of event registration and ticking features.

Event Smart, on the other hand, is an SaaS event registration platform, also commonly referred to as a ‘hosted’ platform.

 

Event Smart was released in 2015 as an alternative to Event Espresso, to make running an event website simpler and more accessible. This solution provides you with a fully-functional event site, built using WordPress and Event Espresso. However, you don’t have to worry about creating and maintaining the site yourself, as it will be set up and hosted for you.

Event Smart vs Event Espresso: 3 Key Categories

While both Event Smart and Event Espresso can help you manage your online events, each has its own particular set of strengths. When deciding which event registration solution is right for you, you’ll want to consider three key factors: available features, ease of use and customization options, and cost.

1. Features

Since they’re built using much of the same technology, Event Espresso and Event Smart include many of the same key features. Both enable you to sell tickets and registrations via multiple payment options, manage attendee information and venues and set up custom event calendars.

You can also set up different types of tickets with various pricing options, or create paperless events. In addition, you can even use a mobile app to view attendee details and perform check-ins at the event itself.

One of the benefits of using Event Smart, however, is those event organizers who do not maintain their own self hosted WordPress website can also accept online registrations using a hosted platform. Those who opt for a hosted system often do so because they simply do not want to invest the extra time that is involved in developing and maintaining their own website and dealing with the installation of plugins, hosting management, website security and other time-intensive activities.

2. Ease of Use and Customization Options

By design, Event Smart is meant to streamline the process of online event management, by taking website maintenance off your hands. Although Event Espresso is by no means difficult to use or maintain if you already have a WordPress website, Event Smart cuts down on the amount of work required to set up and run your site and requires fewer technical skills.

On the other hand, both Event Smart and Event Espresso offer plenty of customization options. These solutions are designed to please those who just want to click a button and apply a template, and those who would rather tinker with the code to personalize their event sites.

Event Espresso is technically the more flexible option when it comes to customization because you can adapt an Event Espresso template to fit the design and branding of your current site. You can also incorporate event registration functionality into a site that has other features and sections, such as a blog or an online store.

Although Event Smart is more focused on event management, however, you can still make personalized changes to your site’s appearance using the Custom CSS feature upgrade. This option enables you to override the design settings in Event Smart, similar to how you can alter Event Espresso templates.

3. Cost

Both Event Espresso and Event Smart offer several options when it comes to pricing. With Event Espresso, you can get a single-site license for $79.95. If you really want to take advantage of all the plugin has to offer, though, the $299.95 Everything License provides access to a huge library of add-ons, all for an annual fee.

 

Of course, in order to run Event Espresso, you will need a WordPress website, and you’ll, therefore, have to pay for hosting and a domain name (at the least). If you already have a site and are covering these costs anyway, that may not be a significant factor.

If not, however, Event Smart offers three different pricing plans to fit just about anyone’s budget. The three monthly plans encompass everything you’ll need to run your event site:

 

If you only want a few of the premium features that are available on these platforms, Event Smart enables you to purchase them as upgrades to its free version for as low as $5 a month. The $50 and $100 per month plans, on the other hand, come with plenty of extra features and upgrades included.

Event Espresso offers simplicity – an annual payment for all the features you’ll need to organize and host as many events as you would like from your WordPress website. On the other hand, Event Smart provides flexibility, letting you customize what features you get and how much you pay.

So Which Event Registration Solution Is Right for You?

Ultimately, both Event Smart and Event Espresso offer a wide variety of useful features for online event management. While there are a few small differences in their capabilities, for the most part, they’re able to accomplish the same tasks. Therefore, features probably won’t be the primary factor when deciding between the two.

Instead, the choice really comes down to whether you want a self-hosted tool or a hosted solution. If you already have a website or are comfortable managing one of your own, then you should be able to start using Event Espresso with no trouble at all.

If you need a website to promote your events and sell tickets and accept registrations, however, but you don’t want to manage it yourself, Event Smart can take care of many key tasks related to updates, maintenance, and security for you. Plus, its flexible pricing options means that it can be just as affordable an option as Event Espresso.

Conclusion

The event management solution you use will go a long way towards determining the success or failure of your website. Fortunately, both Event Smart and Event Espresso offer plenty of premium features that make online event registration and ticketing a simple matter.

Since Event Smart is built on the foundation of Event Espresso and WordPress, the two solutions offer largely the same feature set. Your choice will come likely down to whether you manage your own self hosted WordPress website and want to integrate your event registrations into that website, or if a fully-hosted event platform is preferred.

Do you have any questions about what Event Espresso and Event Smart can do? Leave a comment and let us know!

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