What are event hosts looking for from your event management website? They of course want an easy way to manage the events they plan to host. And you probably have that; a first-rate event management website on WordPress with a plugin like Event Espresso. Using your website event hosts can:
Set-up Event Details
Set Tickets and Price
Manage Event Attendees
While this might be the core of your event management system, there are other aspects that are closely tied to hosting events, which event hosts would be interested in as well. Like booking a event venue, for example. Venues are an important aspect in managing an event, and hence venue booking can be a great add-on to your event management website!
Events and Venues
For events (which of course are not online), venues play a key role. Event hosts obviously want a suitable event location for events they plan on hosting. For example, a basketball match would have to be held at a Sports Arena, a business meeting at a conference hall, and a musical performance in a theater. So venues decide the following:
The Event Location
Availability Influences Event Date and Time
The Number of Attendees
So event hosts, would want to decide and book an event venue, before selling tickets and advertising their event on your event management website. It’s that exact logical order which will be followed. The event location is decided, then the event is setup in Event Espresso (and the venue information is added), and then tickets are sold.
So since the first step is venue booking, let’s start with that. In Event Espresso, you have the possibility to add Venue information. But… there isn’t a possibility to book the venue. Not a problem. We would need to make a simple change. The venue would be created in Event Espresso as usual.
- Once the venue is created, there should be an option in the front-end to browse through these venues. Like a menu option for example, which says ‘Book a Venue’
- Once the visitor selects this option, a list of all venues (an archive page of all venues) will be shown
- The visitor can select a particular venue item to view more details about that venue
- Apart from the details about the venue (like name, description, images, seating capacity and location), there will be a booking option. The price details could be added in the venue description
- This booking option will take the visitor to a checkout page, where he/she can pay for the venue and continue with the event hosting on Event Espresso
- On the Event creation form, the venue details will be auto-filled
How to Add a Venue Booking Option
To add such a functionality to Event Espresso, we would need to create a custom add-on. This add-on would basically add the booking option, and purchase form. In EE4 since venue information is stored as a custom post type, this functionality can be added easily. In EE3, we would need a bit more effort.
Another option is to integrate an e-Commerce plugin like WooCommerce, and add Venues as products. WooCommerce will take care of the purchase and event venue booking. (You could even integrate WooCommerce Bookings, to make the booking process all the more simple). A minor level of customization would need to be made in EE, to pre-select the booked venue in the event creation form.
Fallback: Redirecting the User to the Venue’s Official Website
An important point which should be noted. Now this question will obviously crop up in your mind. Even though you can provide visitors with an option to book venues, chances are (more often than not), that you might not have the credibility to approve a booking for every. It could be because you are not the owner of the venue, you do not have the authority to book it, or there is no API available which allows you to do so. In such cases, you have to fallback on the default option, which is to redirect the user to the official venue website, to continue with the booking.
Venue booking is a vital part of event management, and can seamlessly fit into your Event Espresso event management website on WordPress. And this idea, of adding venues, can be extended, and can be used to book caterers, transportation, maintenance staff, and so on. Addition of such functionality can make your event management website a one-stop-shop for event hosts. So let me know your thoughts on the same. Do you think a venue booking functionality could benefit users of your event management website?