One of the best parts of a tour consultant’s job is hearing the success stories of first-time group leaders who may be a bit nervous at first about getting students enrolled on their tours, and then end up exceeding their own expectations.
Generating interest in the student body can be challenging, especially if the school hasn’t traveled before. Drawing from the their own experiences and advice from group leaders and fellow tour consultants, Katy and Luke have compiled a list of recruitment tips. These tips can help every group leader, whether it’s the first or tenth time planning a tour!
- Plan early. The earlier you get started, the easier it is to get students enrolled. Students can have the summer to earn money for the tour. Parents have more time to plan financially. The group will also have more time to bond, fundraise together and get more students interested.
- Recruit “Student Ambassadors.” Enlist a few students going on the tour to help recruit others. These students should get along well with everyone, and if they are traveling, other students will want to join in. Have them write about the trip on Facebook and Twitter, or just talk about the trip with friends—word of mouth is the best advertising!
- Get other teachers involved. Even if they aren’t traveling as chaperones, fellow teachers can talk about the tour to their classes. Educational travel speaks to every subject: A trip to Washington, D.C., is a lesson in math, science, history, English and so much more.
- Use school resources to promote your trip. Use morning announcements, the school newspaper, school website, word of mouth, a Facebook page—all the resources you have at your fingertips.
Planning your enrollment meeting:
- Set the date. Make sure you plan your meeting on a date with NO conflicts (i.e. sporting events, concerts, plays) to ensure a good turnout.
- Use the EF Explore America resources to prepare. Your tour consultant will provide parent letters, coverage plan information, a recruitment kit, sample meeting agendas, answers to common questions, a day-by-day itinerary and anything else you might need to have a successful enrollment meeting. Many of the materials can also be sent home with students and parents. They’ll appreciate having the materials to review after the meeting.
- Don’t make it a meeting—make it an event! Order pizza, have snacks, play some music. Make it something students will want to attend.
- Get parents at the meeting too. The parents are the decision makers and students will need their permission to enroll. Parents will appreciate hearing about the tour, meeting the group leader, learning about EF Explore America and having all the information they need to make their decision.
- Use visuals. Ask your tour consultant for a customized PowerPoint presentation full of pictures to get the students excited. You can also bring souvenirs from previous trips. Don’t forget to show a EF Explore America tour video!
- Have a past traveler as a guest speaker. Hearing from a peer about how much fun a tour is will excite students and make them want to have the same opportunity.
Other enrollment meeting ideas:
- Hold the meeting in a computer lab. Have the EF Explore America website ready so parents can enroll their children at the meeting. This will allow them to do it while the information is fresh in their minds.
- Host a webinar during your meeting. Ask your tour consultant and a customer service representative to make a virtual presentation about the tour and answer questions in real time.
- Have at least one student ready to enroll. When you hold your parent and student meeting, have at least one student ready to sign up at the meeting so everyone can see how easy it is.
- Use the Explorer Scholarship. Use the Explorer Scholarship as an assignment and involve the parents. Thinking about why travel is important will get student excited about the trip and help parents better understand the value of educational travel. Plus, winning a scholarship can help make the trip even more affordable.
- Keep in contact. Make sure to get contact information for all parents and students who are interested before the meeting in the case they cannot attend and collect contact information at the meeting. You want to make sure everyone stays in the loop!
- Set a deadline. Setting an enrollment deadline will urge parents and students to prioritize making the decision to travel. Generally two weeks after the meeting is a good enrollment deadline.
And Katy and Luke added: The key to recruiting a solid group of students is to be enthusiastic about travel yourself. The most successful group leaders are prepared and passionate. And your tour consultants are here to make the tour easy and successful, so don’t hesitate to use them as a resource!