Following an increased demand for virtual student recruitment arising from
COVID-19 travel restrictions, Austrade has developed this set of tips to
assist education providers in delivering successful virtual recruitment
In a recent
QS survey of higher education institutions, 50% of respondents believed that the coronavirus would have a detrimental
impact on the number of student applications they received at their
institution. To address this uncertainty, institutions are shifting their
student recruitment strategies with 75% of respondents stating that digital
events were becoming more important, and 70% stating that qualified
one-to-one online meetings were becoming more important.
This has again highlighted the findings from the
2019 Deloitte Digital report on international education and digital
commissioned by Austrade and the Department of Education, Skills and
Employment that ‘international students to Australia are increasingly
connected to information, to their networks of friends and family, to
services, and to each other via digital channels’.
An enhanced end-to-end
digital experience for international students at every stage of the student
lifecycle is critical for those in the international education sector
seeking to attract students and improve the experience of students.
As part of Austrade’s pivot to re-shape its digital student engagement and
to support the work of the Global Reputation Taskforce, Austrade has
embarked on an initiative to look into transforming the Study in Australia
platform as the IE Sector’s one stop shop and student journey information
aggregator. The referral list of virtual recruitment event providers and
this guide serve as our first deliverables of this work.
In addition, Austrade has commissioned an independent feasibility study
with the Austrade network, state and territory clusters and education
providers on the role of Austrade in virtual recruitment. It will also
focus on market specific options and the intersection with our previous
Study Australia events and showcase models, especially on the Austrade
value-adds that may bring to future events. The key findings will be shared
with the international education sector in due course. You are welcome to
input your ideas and feedback via firstname.lastname@example.org
Key elements of a successful virtual recruitment event
In order to deliver a successful virtual recruitment event, institutions
may consider the following:
Before the fair
Identify a platform provider and lock in service details (see our
referral list of virtual recruitment platform providers
). Consider factors like:
Do they have a pre-event marketing service to help market the event?
- Do they have their own list of leads you can leverage?
- Does that list of leads cover markets you wish to target?
- Is the platform mobile compliant?
- Will the platform operate in all the market/s you are targeting (eg
- Does the platform provider assign technical support staff during your
event that are only looking after your event?
- Have other Australian education providers used the platform?
- How easy is the platform to navigate?
- What software does your staff require to use the platform (particularly
where staff members may be accessing this from home computers in the
- What data fields are on the registration portal of the platform?
- Can the fields of the registration portal of the platform be customised?
- Can the platform provider pre-screen participants?
- Does the platform offer a one on one private chat feature for
confidential conversations in addition to open chat in booths?
- What about the capacity for prospective students to upload documents in
- What about language support? Can the platform accommodate translators in
- Can the platform be accessed by students after a virtual event if they
wish to view or download material in the future?
- Who owns the student contact details and what restrictions might there be
on further lead generation?
Market the fair prior to the event via your own and/or your platform
partners’ marketing lists. In particular, leverage the social media
channels which are popular amongst potential students.
Consider developing interactive content for the event to really engage
student interest – eg 3D campus tours, student video testimonials, live
questions during presentations, online quizzes/competitions etc.
Consider involving student ambassadors as chat host in your event –
students want to hear from their peers.
Ensure links to your institution’s webpage content in event booths
directs students to neat and concise information. They shouldn’t have
to click through multiple sites to find what they are looking for.
Consider developing a customised registration portal for your event
that matches your institution’s CRM fields so you can easily add
registered students to your CRM after the event.
Make sure you send a reminder regarding your event to registrants.
Ensure your staff are well trained in how to use the platform and
training sessions are run in advance of the event. Consider preparing a
help guide for them in advance of the event (or get your platform
provider to give you one). which includes details of technical support
they can call on during the event. Run pre-event testing with your
Have a contingency plan in place with your platform provider should
things go wrong.
Reach out to the Study Australia partners and Austrade representatives
at post to see if there are any key messages you can use for audience
or how to promote the event on Study Australia channels.
During the fair
Allocate enough staff to backup one another for timely and effective
communication with potential students. Get advice from your platform
provider on this.
Make sure all staff know where to find real time technical support from
your platform provider - both online and via phone.
After the fair
Make sure you send a thankyou email to all participating students and
provide them with information regarding how they can apply or seek
further information regarding your institution.
Obtain from your platform provider a list of all student leads
generated for adding to your CRM and future follow up and analysis of
applications and conversions coming from the event.
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