In line with the standard WordPress display, the Events Calendar plugin introduces all the sub-categories in the order that you will need them. These include:
A complete list of all the events you create, with their respective start- and end-dates, is displayed here, chronologically.
The tab provides a direct link to adding a new event to your website. You can insert downloadable media and registration forms, schedule dates and times, venues, organizers, and the event cost from here.
Adding tags helps viewers find popular events quickly and easily. Events Calendar lets you create and add multiple tags to events. In certain cases, you can even convert tags to categories, if you realize that some such tag is being repeated often enough to be classified as a category.
The Event Categories tab is self-explanatory. You can crate unlimited categories and add as many events as required to these.
The Venues tab allows you to add Event Venues separately, apart from those added by default while creating an event. Managing venues is easier from this tab, as it shows the complete list of venues at a glance.
Events Calendar lets you add other event organizers who can add their own events and charge tickets for them, on your website. The Organizers tab is the place you go to manage these organizers, and create new user capabilities. The organizer’s information is filed in the same table, and can be accessed by the ‘Quick Edit’ option.
A major plus point of the Events Calendar plugin is that it you can import events, venues, and organizers from external sources in CSV file format. The Import tab controls your file import options, with succinct instructions to successfully import the said files.
The Events Calendar Settings tab has four sub-divisions, viz. General, Display, API’s and Help.
- The General settings help you configure the number of events that can be added per page, decide comments display for event pages, enable or disable a date-picker at the front end, configure the Google Maps display and zoom settings, and change the timezone for your website, as required.
- The Display tab is to help you select the stylesheets and templates to be used for events and decide the event display duration, that is, by day, week, or month. In addition, you can set the date-time display formats and add additional, HTML code before and after the event content.
- The API’s tab is where you can activate the Google Maps API key, received for Events Calendar.
- As is evident from the name, the Help tab has links to Events Calendar’s array of blogs and support forums, on their home website. It also shows the system information for your website, including the WordPress and PHP version, the plugins installed, the theme, multisites supported, the timezone and the other, common library details.
The Event Add-Ons tab merely has a link to the downloadable extensions available for Events Calendar.
All the tabs and options are self-explanatory, and where there is a margin for doubt, there is a brief explanation about how the functionality works, by the developers.
Ease of Use: 4.5/5
One of the reasons why Events Calendar is so popular is because it has limited, but selective features, that fulfill all your event management requirements, yet do not clutter your website with redundant codes. In addition, it has a couple of features that are uniquely Events Calendar’s. Let us look at some of these.
Quick Event Creation
Creating Events using Events Calendar is easy and smooth. Beginning with the event title, creating locations, adding organizers, pricing, tags and display options, restricting content, setting up featured images and finishing up, with the enabling/disabling of comments and trackbacks and pingbacks for the event, the entire process takes very less time.
Multiple Display Templates
Events Calendar has three default stylesheets for designing event templates: Skeleton Styles, Full Styles, and Tribe Events Styles.
The skeleton style is a basic layout which has only the Calendar display configured, with the rest left for you to develop as per your requirement and wish. The Full style layout adapts elements from your working theme and provides for more styling options as compared to the skeleton layout.
The Tribe Events Styles is a full-fledged layout with all styles and designs incorporated for your event pages.
The Events Calendar has the trademark Calendar display format for showcasing your events. How they are to be displayed is up to you though. You can choose from three default formats, the per Day, Month and a List view, for events display. The Pro add-on has further displays that can be used.
The plugin lets you add a fixed ‘Cut-off’ timing for events that will be running past midnight on any particular day. This ensures that the event is displayed only on one page of your calendar instead of spanning both days as it ordinarily would.
To set a ‘Cut-off’ time for you event, go to Event Settings-> General-> End of the Day Cutoff-> Set Timing.
Events Calendar is a completely responsive plugin that can be accessed from phones, tablets, PC’s and laptops, equally well. The Calendar views are configured to fit all screen sizes efficiently.
Google Maps API Integration
Events Calendar supports a geographical display of the event location, with optional zoom settings.
Events Calendar supports all major themes like Genesis, Woo Themes, Avada, Thesis and also integrates well with the others. That said, the plugin does not guarantee 100% theme integration, so you might need to check theme compatibility if any bugs get thrown up during operations.
Import and Export of Contacts
The plugin has inbuilt import and export options for venues, organizers, and events. These files can be imported from other websites or external sources in CSV format. As a rule, it is a good idea to import venues and organizers first, and then import events so that no details are missing on download. Events imported can be published immediately or saved as drafts.
From a marketing perspective, the Events Calendar plugin ensures that all the slugs and permalinks of you events and event pages are SEO compliant. This helps to increase Google Search rankings and make for better promotion of events.
Events Calendar Pro is a premium add-on that incorporates even more functionalities to your core plugin. These include:
Customizable Event Recurrence
Events Calendar Pro supports recurring events, i.e. events can be scheduled to occur over fixed periodic intervals, since the time of set up. Going one step ahead, Events Calendar Pro has custom recurring options for you to set up. For example, if an event is to occur on the first Sunday of every month (irrespective of the date), or twice a week for the next 8 months; custom recurring events is a handy solution for setting up events that recur based on days, as opposed to dates.
Apart from the Calendar Grid format, events can be displayed as widgets and sidebars on the various pages of your website. This can be according to the chronology of the upcoming events, as well as according to the venues and organizers handling the event. Venue-based displays enable people to take note of events that might be in their neighborhood, whereas organizer-based event displays help the interested viewers get in touch with the coordinators directly and enquire about the events they will be attending.
The Calendar display integrates a weekly view in the Pro version. This is supplemented by map and photo-grid views too.
As mentioned before, events can be selectively displayed as sidebar widgets on your website’s pages. This is one way of adding featured events to your website. Apart from these, Events Calendar Pro has other, useful widgets such as a Countdown widget, a Featured Venues widget, an Advanced Upcoming Events View widget, and a Mini Calendar View widget, that allow for greater event promotion and marketing.
Easy Event Search
Events need not be searched by the exact name using Events Calendar Pro. The SEO support, featured events, and venue-based listings make it easy for people to find events in their vicinity or according to popularity.
Websites hosting a huge number of weekly or monthly events, such as universities or community organizations, face the need to filter events and categorize them appropriately. This is imperative because finding and registering for events ought not to be a hassle for would-be attendees.
Events Calendar Pro offers extensions like the Filter Bar plugin, which lets users find the precise event they are searching for, with minimum trouble.
The plugin has additional fields, apart from the date-time-venue-organizer combination, which can be used to add further information about an event.
Event Tickets Handling
Allotting and booking tickets using Events Calendar is a little complicated. The plugin does not have an inbuilt functionality for assigning and handling tickets. That is incorporated by using the Event Tickets add-on, which allows you to set up multiple pricing options, sales dates and the availability.
Creating an Events Marketplace
Events Calendar Pro helps you set up an Events Marketplace using the Community Events and the iCal Importer add-ons, which allow other members to add their own events to your Calendar.
The Events Calendar plugin has a multitude of features that are useful in creating an efficient event management system; yet, there are a few shortcomings, it could’ve done without.
- The plugin does not have an in-built e-mail generation system which is necessary for staying in touch with your attendees.
- Events Calendar does not have an option for managing your contact lists and updating their profiles.
- The plugin does not have inbuilt tax administration or discounts and coupons options, but avails of them through the Event Tickets plugin.
The overall features of Events Calendar are quite impressive, and those it lacks, it makes up for using extensions and third party integrations.
NOTE: The versions of the Events Calendar and the Events Calendar Pro plugins are required to be the same for successful plugin operation.
The Events Calendar plugin is completely and totally free of cost, and is available for download in the WordPress repository and also on their home website. The premium add-on, Events Calendar Pro is available in five different pricing plans,
- Personal Plan: $89 per site, per year
- Business Plan: $149 for 3 sites, per year
- Agency Plan: $299 for 10 sites, per year
- Multisite Plan: $349 for an unlimited number of sites, within a multisite network, per year
- Unlimited Plan: $750 for an unlimited number of sites, per year
This is a bit heavy on the pocket, for individual event planners, especially as the licenses for add-ons like Event Tickets Plus and Filter Bar have to be purchased separately. Taking a features versus pricing check, the plugin does fall into the high price range category.
But considering the fact that the base plugin is completely free, Events Calendar gets an additional brownie point.
The Events Calendar plugin has internal and external support options, with sufficient information in their Knowledgebase and Support Forums pages. This is freely available on their website. If you do have a problem that has not been encountered and resolved in the said forums before, you can drop a support request, which gets addressed within a week or so. The Premium support forums are relatively more active and users’ requests are resolved within, approximately, a couple of days.
The substantial documentation is segregated into categories by user level, application, plugin features, and products. Especially useful is the New User Primer, which has talks about the basic working of the plugin.
Plugin updation is pretty regular, which include new-feature incorporation as well as bug fixes. The developers have a policy of introducing 4 new versions of the plugin per year, which ensures that the plugin stays up-to-date. They’ve also incorporate plugin audits by the likes of Pippin Williamson and Mark Jaquith, to check plugin security and compatibility.
Support and Updates: 4.5/5
Apart from the core Events Calendar plugin and the premium Events Calendar Pro extension, Modern Tribe has developed several other add-ons and extensions to avail of event, organizer, and ticket handling. Some of these are listed as follows.
Ticket Management Extensions
- Event Tickets: Event Tickets is a ticket generation and handling system that lets you add registration confirmation by attendees or issue tickets to them. The transaction is managed within your WordPress website via ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads.
- Event Tickets Plus: This is a premium extension for the Event Tickets plugin that adds functionalities like multiple pricing options, sales timing and discounts to the core plugin. Tickets can be emailed to customer directly, and checked at the venue using a QR code scanner.
To enable these ticketing options, the complete set of plugins to be used is,
- The Events Calendar/ Events Calendar Pro plugin
- An ecommerce website (like WooCommerce, WP eCommerce, or EDD)
- The Event Tickets /Event Tickets Plus plugin
Event Marketplace Generation Extensions
Creating an event marketplace using Events Calendar can be done in two ways:
- Events Calendar Pro + Community Events Extension: The Community Events extension allows other community members, or organizers, to add their own events to your website. They can also sell tickets for these events using the Community Tickets add-on. As the administrator, you have the ultimate authority to accept or reject event display on the website, but the other event creators need not log in to the admin site for creating an event.
- Events Calendar Pro + iCal Importer Extension: The iCal Importer is an add-on that lets you import events from other websites using an ICS file and add it to the event listings on your website. This is useful when you are targeting venue-specific or genre-specific events, as it helps you successfully create an event marketplace for themed events.
Social Media Integration
Events Calendar Pro connects to social sites like Facebook, which enables widespread publicity of events.
- Facebook Events Add-on: The Facebook Events add-on integrates your Facebook account with your WordPress website so that you can import/export events to and fro, easily. Events from Facebook Pages can be imported manually, or automatically, sporadically or according to a fixed schedule. Note that events created on personal user timelines or in groups, have to be imported manually, using the event ID.
Events Calendar integrates with Eventbrite.com to manage events and sell tickets.
- Eventbrite Tickets: Though technically a ticketing solution, the Eventbrite Tickets add-on integrates your WordPress website and Eventbrite.com account, which gives you all the power of the latter’s robust ticket management system. The event can be created on WordPress and marketed and sold on Eventbrite.com, and vice versa.
Event Search Integrations
While managing a large number of events on your website, it is necessary to ensure that finding and registering for these is quick and easy. Too long a process leads to Cart Abandonment and decreased traffic. To avoid this, Events Calendar has an add-on that allows users to add search filters that makes finding events quick and easy.
- Filter Bar plugin: The Filter Bar add-on enables users to search for events according to day, date, time, venue, organizer, pricing, tags, and categories. It works with both, the Events Calendar and Pro versions, and has the added functionality of gauging distances from the event location, working with Pro’s Google Maps search.
- The administrator can decide which filters will be available at the user end and also configure the Bar display.
- The plugin also has a number of hooks and filters for developers to fiddle around with as well as, plenty of customization options available for website coders and developers.
Integrations and Extensions: 4/5
Events Calendar Pro is a great plugin for people who plan to handle a large number of large-scale events under one roof. The plugin has features supporting all sorts of individuals, from independent business owners to institutions with thousands of users.
That said, a lot rides on your budget, the future scope of your market, and the amount of time you can dedicate for event creation. Events Calendar is a very flexible plugin, but that also means that you need to apportion some specific time to create and manage beautiful events.
Events Calendar Pro has the most number of users for any event registration plugin on WordPress, which attests to its popularity. The plugin has been translated into 8 different languages including German, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
The plugin focuses on incorporating robust, selective features that power the core of your event management website, rather than trying to offer every feature under the sun. Elegant design templates, plenty of customization options, and enough and more hooks, filter and extensions make Events Calendar Pro a very good choice for an event management plugin.