The Power of Virtual Campus Tours in Student Recruitment
An immersive virtual campus tour is an untapped marketing tool with many benefits for both students and colleges.
The COVID-19 pandemic struck at the time that high school seniors were making final decisions about enrolment for their future studies. Campus visits? College fairs? All of these questions are being addressed on a daily basis. College admission counsellors and admissions officers are challenged to look at this changing landscape and support students, providing information to help them make these important life decisions.
Thanks to technology, today the initial stages of the college search and application process is completed almost entirely online, sometimes without even an in-person visit by the student. Today, universities, colleges and — any school in fact — needs a dynamic online presence to remain competitive. Digital marketing initiatives such as interactive websites and social media strategy have become fundamental to attract students, particularly in times when social distancing is crucial.
One of the most important tools enabling this shift is a virtual campus tour. Prospective students can engage in an in-depth, immersive experience of what it’s like to be at your campus — from the comfort of their own laptops, tablets, or mobile devices.
5 Reasons Why You Need A Virtual Campus Tour
1. Increase Accessibility for All
It is known that the college application process isn’t equitable nor is it an equal playing field. Well-off students can easily travel and tour campuses in person, while other students don’t possess the same advantage. However, virtual campus tours level the playing field a bit by increasing accessibility for anyone and everyone. Rural students can tour large campuses in major cities, international students get a better idea of studying abroad, and those who must stay at home right now are able to ‘explore’ campuses from the couch. Essentially, Virtual Reality allows students to replicate the experience of a campus tour at a much lower cost and in less time.
2. Inspire Physical Visits
In a VR tour, you can show students in a science lab working on cool projects, your newest technology in action, and much more. With an in-person tour, students are walked from building to building, which can become mundane for some students. A unique virtual campus tour can convert prospects to enrolled students at a higher rate. Real-time virtual tour visitor engagement determines the optimal moment to display calls to action. This moves students to the next step in your recruitment process.
3. Connect With The Youth Audience
77% of education seekers will first visit a school’s website at least two weeks — and often two months — before taking action, the Google and Compete study found. Most of applicants belong to one of two categories; Gen Zers or late millennials. These people have grown up with technology in a way that previous generations haven’t. Flat media falls flat with these generations. They have higher and different expectations of digital experiences. They now expect technology like VR and 360 tours to be part of the school they wish to attend.
4. More Exposure
When students are experiencing an easy, immersive virtual campus tour, chance are they will share exciting snapshots on their social media. This means you get access to their peer group — which is a crucial part of your target audience. Virtual campus tours are easily shared via URL, which can be embedded on your website. You can add specific keywords in the virtual tour title, add links and tags, all of which can be tracked in Google. This means you have an inherent advantage when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Higher rankings mean you will be discovered much more easily by prospective applicants.
5. Create A Lasting Impression
Tours can be as simple as photos that allow the students to get a 360 degree image of different locations, or they can be quite involved, such as narrated video tours of specific parts of your campus, complete with additional links to faculties, campus resources, and social media to round out the tour. Making the virtual campus tour into a video game is a fun way to engage prospective students and leave them with a lasting impression.
Traditional content cannot tell your campuses store or evoke the emotional reaction a student has when physically experiencing it. Engaging prospective students requires engaging content. We offer a number of special services designed for academic institutions such as universities and colleges — from 360° virtual reality open day-tours, through to video production and web development. In addition to delivering unparalleled engagement, our virtual campus tours provide meaningful data. This data is transformed into actionable insights that are leveraged to deliver the optimal results across enrolment marketing programs.
Get started on building an immersive virtual campus tour with us now.