In our recent blog, we highlighted the benefits of the virtual campus tour, and now we'll explain ways to create them successfully. By understanding the latest technology, communicating your unique story, and capturing student data to use in future marketing campaigns, you'll be off and running (virtually) in no time. But first, let's identify common concerns among colleges and universities worldwide.
Considerations to Make & Overcoming Challenges
3 Aspects of an Outstanding Campus Tour
Who will tell your school's unique story? One of the benefits of a virtual tour compared to an in-person tour is utilizing different voices. From the president of the college and the various school deans to the current students and mascot, break up the virtual tour by changing the guide. This works best with pre-filmed tours like Vanderbilt University created below and can also work through sites like YouVisit (see Penn State University).
While the history of the institution and iconic architecture are essential to your campus identity, prospective students want to connect with the community, not the buildings. Choose campus representatives who are enthusiastic, loyal, and authentic. Many schools have business departments, but no school offers the same internship experience that one of your students experienced.
The goal is for visiting families to say, "Tell me more" rather than "That was boring."
YouVisit does an excellent job subtly collecting data without making it feel like a time-consuming survey or never-ending inquiry form. Before taking a YouVisit virtual college tour, prospective students provide information used further down the marketing funnel. Colleges can find a student's name, date of birth, email, major of interest, home address, and extracurricular hobbies without lifting a finger. For schools not utilizing the YouVisit (or similar) platform, there needs to be information exchanged and data collected. This can be strategically accomplished after the visit as well.
Once you have written a tour guide script, filmed, edited, got approval from the higher-ups, and posted your video on a host site, what's next? Virtual campus exposure in the early stages of a college search is vital to higher education marketing, but obtaining prospective student data must follow.
The question is not "Will virtual tours remain relevant?" but "Who will create the best virtual college tours in the future?" As the global pandemic begins to disappear, universities worldwide are ready to welcome people back to campus. Yet, after a year of exclusively hybrid living, society now craves flexibility more than ever. As a result, the tech-savvy generation of college prospects your institution hopes to recruit is waiting with a smart device in hand to see what you have to offer.