With traditional University Open days cancelled the University quickly moved to offering online Open Days.
As campus was closed due to Covid 19 19 the University developed an alternative digital open day experience to launch at the beginning of July to support the 2021 student recruitment activity. As part of this, the FD Marketing, Sales and Communications Team provided innovative digital solutions to highlight facilities to future students.
The challenge for the FD Marketing, Sales and Communications team was to adapt each service area’s needs into an innovative digital format, to deliver the best online open day experience for their prospective students. The process started with the team coordinating the information from each Service, producing a full audit, to minimise duplication across teams, of what each area would normally contribute towards an Open Day, and working with them to identify how this could best work digitally.
To simplify the experience for the prospective students, a native Open Day landing page was created, it performed as a hub of content and information about each service area such as University Residences, The Edge and cafes. The pages took influence from the main University’s open day pages in order to provide a cohesive experience for the user and provided tracked links back to the main University’s Open Day web page content. Furthermore, the team delivered and supported internal Service areas in new ways by using new digital tools to enhance the user experience.
The team collaborated with the University Marketing team, who were leading on the virtual open days, to provide images for the virtual campus tour, this ensured prospective students gained a good view of how the University residences, catering outlets, gym and sport facilities looked like both inside and out.
In supporting the Sport and Physical activity team to showcase the sports offer at the University, the team created a virtual presentation that was delivered to students and managed the live online Q&A chat session answering questions prospective students asked during the presentation.
Accommodation teams online virtual experience was enriched with accompanying blogs written by real students to replicate the work student ambassadors would have done face to face on previous open days. Also, once a long-term project to create 360 virtual tours of the halls of accommodation was completed the team created a webpage where all the videos sat together making it easier for visiting students to find what they needed.
Lastly, the team produced a suite of animated graphics for use on social media to introduce the University catering service to prospective students.
Digitising these experiences enabled the FD Marketing, Sales and Communications team to collect more data and effectively monitor the impact of the content that will be used to inform decision making for future open days.
The need for swift adaptation of the open day had many positive impacts on the team and for its FD Service teams. These included the digitisation process which prepared the FD Service teams for any further virtual open day experiences. The improved online assets and resources by default created a better online experience for prospective students and going forward will continue to form part of a hybrid experience to reach new markets and engage with audiences in a more meaningful way.