Event Espresso: one of the best event registration & ticketing management WordPress plugins (and just gets better with the release of version 4!).
So you need an online event & ticketing management function that you can integrate into your WordPress website.
However, with all online systems, you have to adapt your internal processes so they match with the your chosen online SaaS system. This is a big limitation. Also, ongoing costs can be major factor to consider. You have to understand that these online ticketing SaaS services add fees onto fees: You will have to pay them to process debit and credit card payments connected to your ticket sales.
There is always a tipping point in the process of using online SaaS systems, where they don’t fit with what you want or need. (Also, when it comes to Eventbrite, a lot of its WordPress functionality will only work with WordPress.com!)
Eventually, you will want your own WordPress-based system. However, you don’t want to reinvent the wheel. So what are the alternatives to these popular online ticketing systems?
I’ve personally have used Event Espresso on a couple of clients’ websites and I’ve found it to be a reliable and powerful WordPress plugin. Until recently, however, it had some major limitation connected to customization, i.e. integrating successfully into themes and expendability. So I was excited to hear that Event Espresso had a major new version coming out with Event Espresso 4.
So, what are the major improvements? I don’t plan to list all the changes from v3 to v4: That would be a long list! Instead I have listed the changes that I feel are the most useful and interesting.
1) With v4, the events are now WordPress custom post types. This should offer a lot more flexibility connected to how developers can customize event posts.
I am slightly concerned that the EE folks have moved to using object oriented PHP, which often creates hundreds of separate PHP files. This can lead to some real pain when it comes to basic customization.
However, I’m pretty sure that the folks at Event Espresso will do this the right way and also follow the WordPress recommended theme coding standards, which should mean that, as along as your theme is coded correctly, you shouldn’t have any theme compatibility issues.
With v4, EE uses jQuery ThemeRoller. Also, because the events are now custom post types, they work a lot better with WordPress plugins like (Custom Post Type UI) and (TinyMCE Advanced.)
2) With EE4, you get a developed JSON API add-on that allows other applications and websites to access your EE data. Using the EE4 JSON API can get information on all the events and attendees, and even check attendees in and out of events.
Here’s a list of the types of integration that are possible with EE4’s new API.
- Mobile applications (e.g. Event Espresso mobile apps)
- Custom onsite and offsite calendar integrations
- Custom event lists with role based (public/private) access to event data
- Custom website app integrations
- Role-based access to attendee data
- Cached database queries
- Offsite registration forms (coming soon)
- Ability to create customized analytics
3) With EE4, an event can have many dates and times, and you get the ability of having multiple and different tickets assigned to each date/time. This is a lot more flexible than the EE3 version.
4) Smart single-page checkout with these enhancements:
- Skip making payments for “free” or no-cost tickets.
- Use the “Primary Registrant” details to auto-fill the registration form for additional registrants with the same answers to your registration questions.
- Update the personal information in a contact record by registering for subsequent events.
Like I said at the beginning of this article, these are the things that I personally thought were some of the best improvements in EE4. Here’s a link to the full list of improvements you will find: Event Espresso 4.