Would you believe me if I told you creating a party booking website was a simple 3 step process? Darn tootin it is! That’s the power of using a platform like WordPress along with a readily available events plugin- Event Espresso.
With a WordPress website in place, you’ll have to use the Event Espresso plugin along with a few add-ons to take you from ‘Just Another WordPress Website’ to ‘The Coolest Party Booking Website Ever!’ 🙂
Now I’m not saying this article will provide you all the answers. But it is a more of a ‘get started’ guide for those looking to create a party booking website, or an e-booking service for parties.
Let’s get started!
Since you’re planning on creating a website, I’m guessing you have your domain name and web hosting sorted… right?! If you don’t know what I’m talking about not a problem. There is a Step 0 for those of you starting out from scratch.
Step 0: Create a WordPress Website
I’ll explain in brief what needs to be done here. To create your website, you’ll first need a domain name. Once you’ve thought of one, and if it’s unique, you need to register it using a domain registrar like GoDaddy or BlueHost.
You then need to host your website. From the hosting companies available, we recommend Digital Ocean. Digital Ocean provides you a cost effective, high performance and scalable solution, to give you great support.
The final step is to install WordPress. Follow the WordPress installation guide, and your WordPress website will be ready.
Step 1: Install an Events Theme
Once your website is in place, you need to install a suitable theme. A theme is the backbone of your website. If you take a look either at the WordPress repository or on a theme marketplace like ThemeForest, you’ll be overwhelmed with the number of themes available.
To help you out I’ve a 7 point theme selection guide to help you choose an apt theme. A suitable theme for you, would be one built to create an events website. It’ll just make your job simpler by providing you the options you need.
I also recommend using a premium theme, like Eventure for example, mostly because of the paid support you’ll be getting.
Step 2: Install the Event Espresso Plugin
I’m not giving you an option here. Install the Event Espresso plugin! Period.
There are quite a few event management plugins available but Event Espresso is by far the best event management plugin. Event Espresso is feature rich, has great support and a detailed documentation, which definitely makes it worth every penny you pay for it.
The only question you should be asking is- which version of Event Espresso plugin should I choose?
There are two versions of the Event Espresso plugin available- EE3 and EE4. EE4 is the newer version, and it’s fast growing. It might have a few add-ons missing when compared to EE3, but I’d still recommend EE4.
EE4 is the way to go!
The Event Espresso team is working towards building additional add-ons for EE4 and is focused on improving it by adding more features. EE3 on the other hand is being supported well, but you should not expect additional features to be added to it.
However I will be discussing certain features EE3 provides, which might be of importance to you. In this case you can go ahead with the EE3 version of the plugin.
Let’s take a look at how the Event Espresso plugin can help us.
Why Event Espresso
A party is essentially an event. The Event Espresso plugin (EE3/EE4) provides you several features to easily create and manage events and attendees:
You can create events (parties) and categorize them. You can also add venues and associate them with events.
For paid events or parties, you can create different types of tickets (each with a different price). EE4 also has a feature which allows you to set up default tickets and prices to speed up event creation. You can activate several payment options and create invoices on ticket purchase.
Registration and Attendee Management
Event Espresso also provides accurate attendee management. You can customize event registration, customize confirmation emails, check ticket payment status, cancel registrations and much more.
Sounds good? Let’s move on.
Step 3: Set up your Party Website
The final step is to set up your party website. As mentioned the Event Espresso plugin will provide you the basic features. Now your task is to avail these features to add functionality to your party booking website.
With EE4’s in-app documentation, you should be able to set up up your party booking website with ease.
#1 Add Parties as Events
Parties should be set up as event. (You figured that out right? 🙂 ) To set up a party, here’s what you’ll have to do- 1) you’ll have to add a venue, 2) create a new event 3) add the party details and link the venue, 3) create tickets.
Interested customers will be able to purchase party tickets using payment methods you’ve set up. EE4 simplifies the checkout process for ticket buyers by providing a smart single page checkout option.
The Events Calendar add-on and the Upcoming Events widget can be used as a quick navigation option for interested attendees.
If you want your events to be available to registered users then EE4 provides a WP User Integration add-on for the same.
You might be aware that several parties have waitlists to allow interested customers to register for events with sold-out tickets. A possibility to create a waitlist event is not provided by EE4, but is provided as an add-on for EE3. If waitlist events are important to you, you might want to consider EE3 or consider adding a custom functionality to EE4.
#2 Market Parties on Social Media
EE3 as well as EE4 allow you or event attendees to share events listed on social networking sites. This functionality is a great marketing tool for your parties, to help popularize them using social media.
#3 Create a Checklist & Admit Attendees
EE4 also provides a feature to generate an attendee list which can help you check-in attendees for an event as well. The list also has additional details such as the payment status of the ticket to allow further processing. This option can be used instead of printable tickets if you prefer to do so.
#4 Provide Party Hosting as a Service
If you plan on creating and managing all party events by yourself, you wouldn’t need this option. But for those of you looking to provide part hosting as a service, here’s what you’ll need to do. Unless you want to provide users complete control of your WordPress website, you’ll have to create additional user roles.
EE3 provides a Roles and Permissions add-on, which creates additional user roles such as an Event Admin. The Staff Manager add-on can also be used to create additional roles.
EE4 provides more granular control owing to its Restrict Access feature. This feature coupled with a Role and Capability manager can allow you to create different user roles as needed.
And you’re set!
Lot to take in wasn’t it? Well those of you with working knowledge of WordPress should be able to set up your party booking website with ease. For those of you who need more assistance, I’m sure an Event Espresso Pro will surely be able to help you out. And for those of you with questions you think I can help you with, you can direct them to me using the comment section below!