2020 in Review: Virtual Events, Product Makeovers, and New Integrations

There’s no way to look back at 2020 without acknowledging how difficult this year has been. The pandemic added an enormous amount of complexity, uncertainty, and heartbreak to the world. It took lives, and it put lives on hold. It also presented major challenges to anybody in the businesses of planning events.

But the events community persevered. Small businesses pivoted to virtual events when stay-at-home orders began. People found ways to get together virtually. They connected at online conferences and sweat together through Zoom workouts. Entrepreneurs found ways to thrive in this new environment. Event planners are a resilient bunch, and we’re honored to create plugins that help them continue bringing people together.

We’re also proud of what The Events Calendar team accomplished in 2020. This year alone, we’ve helped our customers with more than 28,000 support tickets and sent out 99 updates and releases for our plugins (with more to come before the end of the year). We released a new plugin for virtual events (more on that below), and our team came together to quickly adapt to users’ evolving needs during the pandemic. 

Before we close the book on 2020 (not a minute too soon!), we’re looking back at the biggest news and updates from The Events Calendar this year, plus a look ahead at what’s next for us.

New tools

A new plugin for virtual events

As users scrambled to transition to online events, our team moved fast to create Virtual Events to optimize The Events Calendar for online events.

This plugin truly lets virtual events shine. From making online events pop in the calendar to Zoom integration, embedded livestreams, and hidden meeting links, this plugin has become a staple in our family of products.

WP Sandbox joins the family

You may remember us mentioning this earlier this year. WP Sandbox is a solution to quickly spin up sandbox sites (we use it to power our own demo experience). We liked it so much, we added it to our suite of products this year. 

Tons of new extensions

We were on a roll with extensions this year. A few highlights included the Alternative Photo View and Events Wizard extensions, among many others.

This is part of a bigger effort we’re making to focus on extensions. Keep an eye out in 2021 for TEC Labs: the new home for The Events Calendar extensions. We’re also hoping to start taking user-submitted extensions soon!

Shortcodes for Event Tickets

For the first time, Event Tickets Plus began supporting shortcodes. This announcement came with tons of exciting new possibilities, like adding tickets and RSVPs on more pages and making targeted landing pages for specific audiences.

New getting-started guides

Starting with a new plugin can be overwhelming. This year, we put together a curated selection of guides covering each of our plugins, shortcodes, and more. Each guide is divided into sections so you can jump to what you need, or read it in its entirety.

Product updates

Redesigned calendar views

We kicked off 2020 with a bang by releasing a fresh new look for The Events Calendar. This design overhaul brought a sleek, modern look to each of the calendar’s views (list, month, day, week, photo, and map). It also ushered in a new style for featured events, improvements on mobile views, and enhanced the look of multi-day events in the monthly calendar.

Promoter Campaigns

Promoter is an integrated email marketing tool that works alongside The Events Calendar. This year, introduced Promoter Campaigns. This feature lets you create an email campaign with multiple touchpoints that you can apply to all your events. No more busywork duplicating the same series of emails for every new event!

A new look for RSVP for Event Tickets

We rolled out a redesigned ticket RSVP form in Event Tickets. The new-and-improved form came with a slew of new options to how users can respond and engage with your events. This update came on the tail of our attendee registration redesign at the end of 2019.

Widget redesign for Events Calendar Pro

Our designers have been itching to update widgets ever since we launched our redesigned calendar at the beginning of the year. The new widget got a design refresh to match the updated look of our calendar. Stay tuned as we continue rolling out fresh designs for all of our widgets in the coming months.

Filter Bar makeover

Your favorite plugin for filtering and sorting events got some love this year. We released a Filter Bar update that gave the filter bar a snazzy new look, with a new setting that allows vertical filters to be open by default.

Promoter triggered messages

Another new feature for Promoter was triggered messages. In addition to scheduling emails to attendees, you can create messages that automatically trigger when an attendee performs a specific action, like submitting an RSVP or purchasing a ticket. 

Individual attendee collection for Event Tickets Plus

 A long-requested feature for Event Tickets Plus just made the cutoff for this 2020 list. Site owners can now allow ticket purchasers to name each individual attendee in their party, noting special needs or using custom fields (for example, each person’s t-shirt size). Plus, the ticket purchaser can automatically send the ticket email to each of the attendees in their party.

Loxi updates

Loxi is our sister calendar that works on any website, not just WordPress. This year brought a few major changes to Loxi. To start, we lowered the price and made it easier for more folks to quickly create calendars for whatever they need. The calendar is also now optimized for virtual events and allows for RSVP

Integrations & partnerships

Purplepass partnership

This year we teamed up with Purplepass to bring extra horsepower to Event Tickets and Event Tickets Plus. 

When you connect your Purplepass account with WordPress, you can take advantage of Purplepass’s tools for assigned seating, ticket delivery by mail, and other cool features. You can manage all of Purplepass’s features right from your WordPress dashboard.

HubSpot integration

Lots of businesses rely on HubSpot for customer relationship management. So this year, we released an extension that integrates HubSpot with your calendar and ticketing. You can track event data, see attendee behaviors, and create strategic campaigns by harnessing the power of HubSpot alongside The Events Calendar. Check out our Knowledgebase for a comprehensive guide on how to get started.

Behind the scenes

Chat support

This year, we started rolling out real-time chat support to help answer your questions even more efficiently. We’re working on adding more chat support, so keep an eye out for more to come in 2021.

Brand update

Look good, feel good. (Or something like that.) In keeping with our updated designs across our products, we decided it was also time to give The Events Calendar brand a refresh. The new look for our brand came with an updated logo, a playful new color palette, and a fresh style for icons and other visuals across our website.

Account updates

We made some tweaks that make it easier for you to find your product license key right when you log into My Account on theeventscalendar.com. No more wild goose chase to find what you need.

New Demo

This year, we also added a nifty “Try it Yourself” feature to our demo. Enter your email to receive a magic link that gives you access to a WordPress site with all The Events Calendar premium plugins pre-installed. You can play in the sandbox and see how each plugin works from the admin side of the WordPress dashboard.

Looking ahead

Now that the year is coming to a close, we’re looking forward. Some of our plans for 2021 include:

Making tickets easier to use and more powerful.

Improved integration with themes and page builders.

Introducing the next generation of recurring events functionality.

Growing our offerings around virtual events.

Continuing to beautify the calendar with advanced views, block patterns, and single event pages.

Thanks for being a part of The Events Calendar community in 2020. We’re hopeful about the future, and we’ll be right here to support the community as the event industry evolves in 2021 and beyond.