There’s a reason international schools put so much effort into organizing and executing school visits, and why so many international schools use an online booking system to manage those visits.
Parents thinking of enrolling their child in your school need to be certain they’re making the right decision, and a visit to the school goes a long way to convincing them one way or the other.
In short, how you organize your visits can be the difference between welcoming a new student, and missing out on one.
The limitations of online research
Before parents visit your international school, everything they know about it will be secondhand information.
Maybe they’re a family about to newly relocate to your country, and are looking for a way for their kids to continue their education in their native language. Before the visit, they’re likely to have done their research online.
That will give them an overview of what your school offers, a description of the facilities, and maybe an idea of the curriculum and teaching style. But will they really be able to get a feel for the place that will be responsible for their kids education?
Even for parents who live locally – a group who now represent around 80% of the international school market – a visit to your school is essential.
Local families may have a better idea of the school’s performance, through proximity, word of mouth, or even knowing children who attend. But when it comes to their child’s education, the chances are they’ll still want to see for themselves.
The power of a school visit
A visit to an international school is a chance to see education in action.
It gives parents and children the opportunity to walk the grounds, talk to your students, use the facilities, and ask some questions of the faculty they will be entrusting with their child’s education.
As with any school, the education of the child is paramount. But for international schools, visits also represent a huge business opportunity.
For fee-paying schools, education is your product, parents are your customers, and the market is tightening. The 2018 Global Report on the International Schools Market found that the number of English-medium international schools worldwide is growing at around 6.3% year-on-year.
With the landscape getting more competitive, your school, and others like it, need to find new ways to stand out. As a distillation of everything your school does, is, and can help their children become, a school visit is a great way to stand out in the eyes of parents.
Putting your best foot forward
When this kind of high-fidelity interaction is so important to your school’s business model, it’s important you put in the hard work that makes scheduling visits as easy as possible on the parents.
That means adhering to some simple steps:
– Make sure you’re visible online
Whether they eventually decide to visit you or not, parents will usually do their research online in the first instance. When they first search for international schools in your area, you need to make sure you’re a part of the conversation. It pays to commit some time to keyword research and a robust SEO strategy, to boost your online visibility.
– Focus on USPs
Competition for international schools is fierce. Excellent facilities, world-class faculty, and dedicated learning plans are no longer differentiators – they’re now taken as a given.
That means you need to focus on what really makes you stand out. Whether your school has a renowned music program, sports teams that regularly win national championships, or something completely different, lead with that.
– Online booking system for international schools
Parents often come across your school online. They then research your school online. So why wouldn’t you allow them to complete that journey by booking a school visit online?
An online booking system for international schools allows parents to book with you 24/7, from any device, anywhere in the world. It allows parents to choose tour slots from live availability, saves your staff time on scheduling visits that they can reinvest elsewhere, and helps turn online browsing into engaged, in-person interactions, giving you a chance to wow parents.
To round up
If you nail the school visit, there’s every chance you will have won yourself a new student.
Just remember, a parent’s first impression of your school will likely be how they engage with it online. And first impression’s count.
Published on 8 January 2020