Leveraging Virtual Tours
When contemplating different colleges and universities, one of the first considerations for prospective students is experience. Can they envision themselves living there? What sports and activities does the school host? What types of amenities are available?
Traditionally, these questions have been answered when students and their families traveled to the institution for an in-person tour. For many families, these visits can be unrealistic, considering that the average cost per visit ranges between $1,000 and $3,000.
Innovations in digital technology have empowered an alternative growing in popularity — the virtual tour. By offering virtual tours, colleges can allow more prospective students to explore campus without needing to make the trip. Discover more about this digital asset and its impact on higher education marketing.
Understanding Virtual Tours
How do virtual college tours work? Potential students enter a digital simulation of the campus and investigate all it has to offer. Virtual tours go beyond images and videos, although these assets are often incorporated. They deliver an immersive and interactive experience to understand the college as if they were there in person.
The main goal of virtual tours is to provide a glimpse into what their life might be like at the school. Prospects can view different buildings, including lecture halls, residence halls, athletic facilities, and student unions. It may also detail the different programs and activities held in these locations.
There are multiple types of virtual tours colleges and universities use, such as 360-degree, video, and interactive. Most schools make these assets compatible with computers and mobile devices, and some have even gone as far as to use virtual reality (VR) for prospects with headsets.
Why Use Virtual Tours for Education Marketing?
Virtual tours may seem like a no-brainer in today’s digital world, especially as the audiences for higher education institutions skew younger. However, the benefits go beyond keeping up with technological developments and providing potential students and their families with convenience. Check out the following benefits virtual tours can deliver:
- Making tours more accessible for students who otherwise might not have the time or budget to travel for an in-person tour
- Allowing prospects to explore areas of the college that wouldn’t be covered in an in-person tour
- Providing students with more immediate access to the information they most demand
- Enhancing efficiency for admissions and freeing up budgets for other projects
- Conveying a school’s credibility by showing its commitment to innovation and an exceptional student experience, in and outside the classroom
- Increasing engagement, which can boost application rates
- Helping colleges and universities stand out against the competition in a saturated market
Is Your School Prepared to Offer Virtual Tours?
Given the many benefits of virtual tours, higher education marketers are eager to implement them into their campaigns. To make the most of your efforts, make sure to think about the following when devising virtual tours:
Just as virtual tours can create more equity for lower-income or minority prospects, they should also create more opportunities for students with disabilities. Virtual tours should be equipped with the capabilities necessary for optimal accessibility, such as assistive technology and captions and transcripts for videos.
Will virtual tours bring an adequate return on investment? Even though the costs are significantly less for virtual tours than the in-person alternative, there are several expenses, including software programs, equipment, labor, and expertise, for a successful launch.
Visual content should make a virtual tour feel like the prospect is on campus. They also ensure an accurate depiction of the campus. With crisp, vivid visual materials, thorough descriptions of programs and activities, and mention of unique aspects of the campus, schools create a high-quality virtual tour students won’t soon forget.
Invest in Creative Services to Market Your Institution
Ready to add virtual tours to your higher education marketing efforts? If you’re not sure where to begin, a great place to start is with marketing solutions from MassLive Media. We offer a range of creative services schools can leverage to design virtual tours to connect with prospective students, such as video production. To learn more about our marketing services, contact MassLive Media today.