In terms of ease of use, Events Manager is extremely easy to download, install and operate. The free version of the plugin is available on WordPress, so all you have to do is:
- Download the .zip file from the WordPress repository
- Upload it on your website and
- Activate it from the Add Plugin page.
The entire process is quick and painless, and simple to boot.
Next is the operation and settings part.
Well, Events Manager gives you a link to their ‘Getting Started’ guide and ‘Settings’ page, right from your Dashboard, so you can check that out to navigate the plugin. It is quite well-written, and explains most of the functionalities you will encounter, but navigation is easy enough without it too.
There are five main options under the Settings tab:
Here is where you edit the submission forms, manage the user capabilities, check image settings, and control other attributes.
There are various user roles that can be assigned including: administrator, editor, author, subscriber, contributor, customer, shop manager, student, backwpup_admin, backwpup_helper, backwpup_check, shop_accountant, shop_worker, shop_vendor.
The user capabilities include event, recurring event, location, and other capabilities.
This is the control panel for adjusting page display and the elements in it. You can display an event as a post or a page, set the default display page for your events listings, and control how many events from each category can be displayed at any given time.
Here you find the technical settings for your event page, location, calendar, category, tag and search form format, excerpt and fallback messages.
The Bookings tab lets you manage the functional details of the bookings you have created (more on that later).
This is for controlling the form submission, registration, and booking emails that you will be sending to your customers.
The plugin has a user friendly interface, which integrates well with the different WordPress themes, so no worries there. Also, the function of every setting under the Settings tab is explained succinctly, so operating the plugin is pretty much straightforward.
Ease of Use: 4/5
Saying Events Manager is a feature-rich plugin would be an understatement.
The plugin provides enough and more options for designing single or recurring events, customizing the event submission forms, optimizing site performance, defining event categories, locations, pricing, formatting the event calendar, and managing bookings; all from the Settings tab.
Here is a look at some of the best features of the plugin:
Creating an event using Event Manager is exactly like creating a Post or Page on WordPress. Add a New Event-> write a short description-> add the location and duration-> choose the tags and categories required-> set access restrictions (if any)-> and publish the Event.
It’s that simple.
Editing and rescheduling events is similar to creating them. All you have to do is go the required page, make the changes and save them.
Do note: Event Manager does NOT support bulk upload of event files in a CSV format. What you can do instead is, use the iCal and RSS Feeds functionality to export your events to event schedulers like Google Calendar and Outlook.
The Events Manager plugin has a customizable sidebar widget, where your events and event locations can be displayed chronologically. For the primary display, the plugin has templates for Single Event, Single Location, Single Category, Events Page, Locations Page, Categories Page and Calendar Page; all of which can be modified with the help of the Using Templates Files guide.
In addition, Events Manager integrates well with other WordPress plugins, if you want to add features like a slider or grid display.
Events can be hourly, daily, weekly or recurring ones that occur periodically throughout the year. Events that are one-time occasions can be created as Single Events and those that are supposed to take place for a longer duration, or at fixed intervals, can be created as Recurring Events. The plugin has an intuitive, calendar display for easy date-picking.
Events Manager gives you the flexibility to create a completely new location, while adding the location during event creation, or you can choose from a previously created list. The plugin has an inbuilt Google Maps integration, which lets your end users see the event location in real-time. You can also add image locations and thumbnails to your post. A separate Locations Page is created by default, which lists all the locations your events will be taking place at.
Setting Up Featured Events
Events Manager has the ‘Custom Post Types’ functionality that lets you set up and promote a featured event on your website. A custom post type is basically any type of content that can be set up as a post.
The plugin lets you add custom fields to events, event registration and booking forms, location forms, and even create customize individual attendee forms to obtain specific information from them; all of which have reCaptcha enabled for protection against spam.
Events Manager supports the online booking functionality only with the Events Manager Pro extension. This add-on integrates the payment gateways with your site, so for an online event bookings system, getting the Pro add-on is inevitable. If you are okay with offline payments though, or are planning to collect it at the event location, you can make do with the free version.
Event Bookings Confirmation
The plugin lets you control the guest registration and cancellation options and enable admin approval before confirmation. You can change the seat limit if a lot of overbooking are expected and allow multiple bookings too. You can also manage the currency and tax settings, edit booking forms and feedback messages, and choose who can see the available tickets.
Multiple Bookings Mode
Events Manager also lets you activate the Multiple Bookings Mode, a feature which enables your users to add multiple registrations for various events to a single Shopping Cart and pay for all of them together.
To manage all the current and future bookings according to event timing and priority, check Events Manager-> Bookings.
Multiple Pricing Options
The plugin lets you set up multiple tickets for your event, each priced varyingly. You can even schedule a time limit for the tickets to be sold. In addition, you can incorporate discounts and coupons for all or specific events, to boost ticket sales.
It is possible to duplicate existing events, to be used as a template during future event creation, instead of starting all the way from scratch.
Event Manager has multisite support enable, which means you can connect events across different sites or even create individual sites for every new event.
Events Manager integrates with BuddyPress (more on that later) which lets manage your events from your BuddyPress profile and even create group-specific events for your members!
The plugin is localization ready and has been translated into over 16 languages including English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Swedish, Portuguese, Chinese and Russian.
Sending Custom Emails
At the heart of every successfully managed event is communication. Events Manager enables you to send booking confirmation, pending, cancellation and rejection emails, to the attendees and the event administrator. Using Event Manager, you can
- Send account registration emails to your attendees
- Send event reminder emails to your attendees
- Issue event submission emails to events submitted at the front end by your customers, or other administrators.
- Issue approval emails
- Issue publishing notifications to your event administrators, as per their pre-defined user roles and capabilities.
Flexible Payment Options
Events Manager has two payment gateways for online booking transactions, PayPal and Authorize.net, which is rather limited. However, developers can create custom gateways depending on their requirement. As mentioned earlier, the plugin calculates taxes using the specified rates and bills your customers accordingly.
Events Manager thus satisfies most of the critical requirements we expect from an event management plugin.
It does have some cons however. These include:
- Increase in site uptime due to a large number of supplementary features.
- Limited number of payment gateways. PayPal does not work in India. The lack of universally compatible gateways can limit the plugin customer base.
- Non-availability of advanced booking features like time-specific cancellation.
- Lack of event analytics to determine the popularity of any given event.
- The plugin does not have an option for customers to rate events, though comments and feedback can be enabled on the event page.
- EM does not support the Waitlist functionality, where customers can be added, and told that they have been added, to waiting lists if the event is fully booked. However, the Overbookings option lets you override this to an extent by eliminating the seat limit for the event and adding the excess people to a pending list.
Events Manager is a free plugin, which can be downloaded from the WordPress directory. Events Manager Pro is the premium add-on, which incorporates the payment gateways, for online bookings support; which makes installing it practically mandatory.
The premium version is priced as:
- $75 for 1 site and
- $150 for 5 sites
This is pretty cheap, for a single site, because the other plugins offering the same range of features are priced a LOT more than Events Manager; and it includes one year’s worth of added support too!
Apart from all the features included in the free version, Events Manager Pro has some additional features such as:
- Payment gateway integration
- Display of the entire transaction history
- Coupons and Discounts integration
- Customizable Booking forms
- Addition of customized forms for individual attendees
- Generation of manual and automated email reminders for registrants
- Premium support for the duration of the valid license
Still, if you are hesitant, you can always go for a price versus utility check here, and opt for the version you need as per your requirements.
As the premium plugin is an extension of the primary, free plugin, both the versions are updated quite regularly for Events Manager. In addition, there are numerous tutorials, support forums, FAQ’s and troubleshooting tips on the parent website, which can be availed of, in case of queries.
The 30+ tutorials are a good place to begin, to understand how you can leverage the different functionalities of Events Manager.
The documentation is neatly categorized and useful for getting an overview of how the plugin works, but is far from complete. There are sections addressing the installation, the basic and advanced settings, and the payment handling. With respect to the meat of the matter, you get sufficient information about creating and sharing events and managing bookings and locations.
There are separate files for the developers’ reference too.
Everything said and done, you don’t actually need a lot of documentation to get working with EM, because it is a pretty straightforward plugin really; but the assurance helps!
Support & Updates: 3.5/5
First let us talk about the extensions possible for Events Manager. There are plenty of additional hooks and filters bundled with the plugin, so your developer side can rejoice. With a little tweaking, you can tune the plugin to whichever specific application you want it to work for.
For the integrations part, let us check out some of the most useful ones, categorically.
Event Display Integrations
The Smooth Slider plugin works seamlessly with Events Manager to set up a sliding display of featured events that you might want to promote. You can add posts, pages, custom post types, and images to the slider, working with six different transition effects. The plugin even helps you create a Search Engine Optimized slideshow.
One of the best things about Events Manager is that it integrates with BuddyPress. This is significant because BuddyPress is a more socially active platform, which is important from the marketing point of view.
You can customize the look of you BuddyPress page using all the template files available and receive event booking, acceptance and rejection updates right in your Notifications area.
Payment Gateway Integrations
Apart from the default PayPal and Authorize.net gateways, the plugin has a Stripe Gateway integration created by Oliveconcepts.
The Events Manager Pro SecureSubmit gateway integration adds a credit card payment functionality, using the Heartland Payment Systems gateway.
Booking and Ticket-handling Integrations
The Hypecal plugin for Events manager adds a ticket management and ticket-checking functionality to your EM website. This add-on lets you receive payments made for your tickets using credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard, JCB, Amex, and Dinners. There is also a Barcode and QRScanner to check ticket validity at the event venue.
Integrations & Extensions: 4/5
To answer this question, you will have to answer these questions first.
- What kind of an event are you planning?
- Are you thinking of getting this plugin for a single event creation or for a full-fledged event management website?
- If for a website, what is the future scope of expansion you plan to have?
- Are you looking for a single event administration functionality or are you planning on creating an event marketplace?
Event Manager is one of the best options if your priority is creating an event management business. An event marketplace is an area where many other people can display their events on your website, while you get a fixed commission for the same. Although, WooCommerce is typically a single vendor platform, you can definitely create an event marketplace using Events Manager along with the right combination of plugins and themes.
For a one-time event creation though, you might need to think twice. Events Manager has a lot of features, yes, but quite a lot of them become redundant if what you are looking for is a small, infrequent event planner. If that is the case, there are other plugins that would be better suited to your requirement.
That said, if you know you will be creating and selling events on a regular basis, the plugin is definitely worth the investment.
Events Manager has come a long way from being a simple event creation plugin to a robust, complete event management system. It is powerful, flexible and customizable. Sure it has certain shortcomings, but they have all have workable alternatives.
Developed by Davide Benini initially, and later by Marcus Sykes, the plugin has over 100,000+ downloads, testifying to its popularity on WordPress.