3 practical strategies you can quickly implement to ensure impactful and accessible tours 24/7 — even if in-person guided visits aren’t possible
By: Rohan Thakkar
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay flexible.
It’s a mantra I’m hearing a number of higher ed professionals repeat as they work to adapt to the evolving changes that 2022 is bringing. With the increased uncertainty brought on by the pandemic and additional concerns surrounding the Omicron variant, many institutions are temporarily closing again or facing the need to pivot in-person operations for the safety of their students and staff.
This can be particularly concerning for recruitment and admissions staff with spring being a critical time for campus visits. But, with the right systems and plans in place, it doesn’t have to be.
Below, you’ll find three practical strategies for ensuring impactful tours even if your campus is temporarily closed or if you’re looking to implement a flexible tour strategy to pivot quickly if necessary. Because if there’s a key takeaway from 2021 and 2020, it’s this: We all need to expect the unexpected and be as prepared as possible for whatever the future may hold in store.
1. Introduce or enhance virtual tours, ensuring 24/7 tour access
Many institutions have already introduced a virtual tour option of some sort — especially since the onset of COVID-19. For those who haven’t, it’s never too late to get started. And for those who have, now is the time to evaluate and enhance your offerings to ensure truly impactful virtual tours. How are you assessing what you’ve done to make strategic decisions moving forward?
One of the most critical aspects of effective virtual tours is accessibility. That means making tours available 24/7 and optimizing them for mobile devices so prospective students and other visitors can tour anytime, from anywhere.
With a focus on creating memorable mobile-first experiences, StudentBridge's Campus Visit Experience makes it easy for prospective students and their families to take interactive and personalized virtual or self-guided tours whenever their schedules allow — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The solution can be accessed from any device with a browser (without needing to download an app), supports tours in multiple languages, and enables visitors to personalize their experience.
2. Offer meaningful, intuitive self-guided tours
While some institutions may not temporarily close campus again, many will (at a minimum) see events — including campus visits — limited again. Smaller group sizes, less frequent time slots, and other restrictions can make it challenging for students and families to participate in traditional tours even if they can make it to campus for a visit.
In these scenarios, self-guided tours can be particularly powerful — but only when done right. Relying on 3D or virtual maps, for example, doesn’t cut it for prospective students and their families who are often unfamiliar with the campus, unsure of what to look at or where to go, and seek specific information about opportunities and resources.
The Campus Visit Experience ensures an impactful and intuitive self-guided visit by generating a logical tour route and providing turn-by-turn navigation based on selected interests, ensuring they only see the most relevant stops. Additional features, such as augmented reality, further enhance the experience by enabling students to point their phones at buildings to identify them and learn more. Since the solution offers both virtual and self-guided tours, it’s an easy way for institutions to provide a personalized campus visit anytime, from anywhere.
3. Remove additional barriers and ensure relevancy with true personalization
By following the above steps, you’ll help eliminate a key barrier to student tours: Accessibility. But another barrier many institutions (often unintentionally) overlook when it comes to virtual or self-guided tours is the reliance on institutional knowledge to unlock a truly impactful experience.
Here’s what I mean: If you’re a prospective student just getting to know an institution, you’re not going to know the best or most relevant places to tour on campus. Participating in a curated tour can be a good starting point, but what if you want to drill down on your specific interests or areas of study? More often than not, a student is directed towards a tour tailored to just one aspect of their experience (like their major). Students are holistic individuals and should be provided with experiences that are reflective.
This is a key area where 3D and virtual maps fall short. Other tour solutions offer customization in that students can select what stops to visit, but the Campus Visit Experience is the only solution that offers true tour personalization based on factors like demographics and interests — eliminating knowledge barriers and ensuring an engaging, relevant experience every time.
Don’t delay or move this important initiative to the back burner. We can get your Campus Visit Experience up and running quickly so you’re ready for whatever 2022 holds in store. Learn more and sign up for a free, no-obligation demo using the button below. SCHEDULE A DEMO.