Never has the competition amongst the UK’s leading Universities been so tough. The ripples of recent political decisions have been felt by everyone. Compounding this are the rapid changes in technology and how best to interact with potential students. The pressure on University Marketing and Event Departments to not only attract prospective applicants but keep them actively engaged throughout the application process, is immense. Hence, the attendance of a prospective student on a University Open-Day event is often seen as a critical milestone in the student journey.
How do you measure the success of a University Open-Day Event?
Measuring the success of a University Open-Day Event consists of multiple components. These include:
- the number of prospective students signed up to attend
- the actual number who attended
- the prospective students’ experience on the actual open-day event itself.
As an Event Manager your responsibility is to ensure the maximum number of attendees are signed-up and converted to actual attendees. Therefore, your first measure of success is the sign-up rates. To achieve this, you need to keep a close eye on sign-up numbers.
How do you measure Open-Day Event sign-up numbers?
When comparing Open-Day Event sign-up rates, you would usually compare with the numbers from previous equivalent events. The phrase I often hear is:
“are our event bookings up on last year?”
This is normally the starting point for a more in-depth discussion….
The reality is University Open Days, tend to take place on a day of the week rather than a particular date. This means the actual date of the event begins to fluctuate. Add to this, external factors that might push the event backwards or forwards by a week. The obvious ones being clashes with other institutions’ open days. However, things like concerts, royal weddings even sporting events, could hugely impact attendance on your event. Let’s be honest, a University Open-Day event that clashes with the world cup final is always going to see a dip in attendance.
You are now in a situation where you are struggling to assess the current sign-up numbers. In order to compare these with last year, you have to try and work out what last year’s event sign-ups were. But it is not so simple. The same event last year took place a week later because this year’s event was moved forward to avoid a clash. Therefore, you are constantly trying to adjust the figures by a week when trying to do a comparison.
This approach is also quite limiting. You can only really compare the current event with an event that took place on a similar date last year. Often there are two summer open days. How can you compare the two summer Open-Day events? Or compare the 1st summer event this year with the 2nd summer event last year? Or taking it further, how is the current event doing compared to the sign-ups for an event that took place last Autumn or Winter?
The ideal solution…..track the days to the University Open-Day Event…..
To keep it simple why not use a calculation of days left until the Open-Day event? What do I mean by this?
Build into your reporting the number of days until the event takes place. This will allow you to compare sign-up levels regardless of the event date.
The Achiever Education’s University Open-Day event tracker dashboard easily allows fair comparison of how your two summer open days are performing against each other. The interactive dashboard shows that the Open Day at the start of June has more bookings. However, looking at the “Days before Event” breakdown, you can clearly see that the Open day at the end of June is performing better. This is because 110 days before the events are due to start this second event has more sign-ups.
Bring in last year’s events and you can see that the second event is just ahead of last years’ open-day. However, the first event is down on numbers.
Your University Open-Day event attendees are down – how can you boost bookings?
Armed with the valuable information above you can begin to make better informed marketing decisions and also more accurately time your activities for optimum return.
Looking at the trend in our dashboard, you can see that historically the summer open day booking spiked 100 days before the event. To boost your first event you could introduce social media advertising or increase your website presence. You could even fire an email shot to any enquirers who have not yet signed up to an open day. Focusing your email content on there still being plenty of time to sign-up for the event. Hopefully this will give increase the event’s exposure and give it the boost it needs.
Find out more
If you want to find out if we can help you address your student recruitment and event challenges, please contact our team to discuss your requirements.