Like an exceptional student experience, the most impactful virtual tours are a collaborative effort between multiple departments on campus. At first glance, it may be challenging for the team leading a virtual tour project to gain buy-in across your institution. In this post, we share how you can showcase the impact of a virtual tour to different departments, and increase the likelihood of securing buy-in, cooperation, and improved contributions. To simplify your efforts, we have highlighted some key selling features for different departments that may help with building your case.
Benefits for Recruitment
Virtual tours respond to the prospective student population.
Today’s prospective students are technology-driven, expect timely responses and are always looking for authenticity. Virtual tours offer a personalized experience for students that showcase your school’s story in an immersive 360 experience. They also offer students the chance to gather insights and information about your school whenever they want, not just during your hours of operation – making your school more accessible to their timelines.
Virtual tours assist with all types of recruitment efforts, both on- and off-campus.
While online efforts are currently more necessary than ever, it is important to remember virtual tours are also effective when in-person recruitment returns. Having high quality 360 content, photos and videos related to specific areas can bring your campus to life at school fairs or during individual school visits. They can also help out on-campus when a lab space is off-limits, or simply busy with current students, allowing you to show off different areas without interrupting a class.
Virtual tours connect you to future students wherever they are located.
Not everyone can make it to campus during your hours of operation. Using your virtual tour to host guided campus tours allow you the opportunity to connect with students who live farther away or prefer to see your spaces from the comfort of their own home. Live guided tours let you connect with students in real time and walk them through a personalized version of your campus related to their interests. During these sessions, you can also answer questions they have and guide them through next steps in your application cycle.
Benefits for Marketing
Virtual tours drive impact to digital channels.
In addition to assisting prospective students and others within your campus community, virtual tours are an excellent asset to your digital presence. Through website integration, internal usage and third-party site integration, virtual tours add interactive, experiential resources that make ordinary pages more engaging. Any webpages on your site with a related physical space on campus, such as Athletics Centres, Residence, Student Life, and program labs and classrooms, are potential destinations to feature embedded virtual tour content. In doing this, you are improving the future student research experience and leveraging interactive content.
Virtual tours generate leads.
With CRM integration and form capture tools, virtual tours allow teams to collect relevant leads. Prospective students can begin your tour by inputting their email address and other key information so you can stay in touch with information relevant to their interests. You can also include calls to action on your tour to provide students with further information and collect data on areas of interest to your audience.
Virtual tours bring campus to your student audience, no matter where they are in the world.
Whether your team is recruiting remotely, or in-person abroad, virtual tours allow international students to see spaces they would otherwise not get to experience before enrolling. You can help bring campus to life by showing off classrooms, labs and study spaces they would utilize at your campus. Particularly useful for international students is the ability to include content from outside of your campus. Showcasing the surrounding community and area, local highlights, economy, industry, and places to socialize are excellent ways to help students get inspired about the journey they are about to embark on.
Benefits for Admissions
Virtual tours convert applicants to students.
Seeing campus is often a key factor in the decision-making process for students. Virtual tours can offer additional information during the campus visit experience. Through a virtual tour, you can incorporate faculty or student videos, allowing students to get a deeper look into how students use specific spaces on campus. Admissions teams can send personalized tours along with acceptance letters to give applicants an idea of what they can expect as a student in a specific program and make your school stand out against the other places they’ve shortlisted.
Benefits for Orientation and Student Success
Virtual tours help students get acquainted and familiar with campus before starting.
Starting post-secondary school is a major transition, and not one that students take likely. In surveying first- and second-year students, one of the most common concerns is getting lost on campus. Virtual tours can alleviate some of the stress by showing students key areas on campus and helping to visualize getting from one class to another, or getting from residence to different buildings on campus. Maps features allow students to not only see spaces but can help to show the exact directions they want to take on campus to help ease some of the worry. Markers can also be helpful to show students where to find their program orientation or other events during welcome weeks.
Benefits for Alumni
Virtual tours showcase your school’s history and alumni.
Reputation is important to schools and students alike. Virtual tours allow the opportunity to showcase a school’s history, community impact and notable alumni. By sharing historical content through video or photo galleries on your virtual tour, students can learn how your school has grown and find inspiration for their future achievements. The historical lens can help parents and supporters appreciate growth of your campus, which can provide more buy-in during the decision-making process. In addition, tours allow you to highlight changes keeping your alumni community engaged and visually demonstrating donor impact.
Benefits for the entire campus
Virtual tours are accessible for everyone.
Virtual visits can make tours more accessible to students and reinforce campus commitments to inclusivity. Platforms, like Circuit, can accommodate diverse abilities relating to vision, hearing, dexterity and cognitive ability. Some examples of accessible practices within virtual tours include focus management, contrast, text alternatives and keyboard access. Schools can also incorporate audio guides or multi-language capabilities to personalize the experience to the audience even further.