Challenge:

RHUL wanted to reach a global student base through their open day to attract a more diverse potential student community at their university. A conventional Open Day within their premises would limit their attendees to Londoners which would hamper their goals of increasing diversity within the campus.

Solution:

vFair’s Virtual Open Day platform with enhanced geographical reach, multiple mediums of engagement and highly responsive customer service promised to help RHUL achieve its goals. Its high configurability and customization abilities helped further RHUL’s goals of driving engagement across its attendees.

Result:

RHUL achieved a large volume of attendees and achieved a high level of engagement with thousands of interactions across over an array of topics. Their bespoke platform and round-the-clock customer support helped them generate stronger leads through their first virtual open day.

About Royal Holloway, University of London

Royal Holloway, University of London, is ranked in the top 30 of all UK universities. Through world-class research that expands minds and changes lives, RHUL aims to inspire individuals to succeed academically, socially and personally. Founded by two social reformers who pioneered the ideal of education and knowledge for all who could benefit, their vision lives on today as the university continues to deliver on its goals.

As one of the UK’s leading research-intensive universities, RHUL is home to some of the world’s foremost authorities in the sciences, arts, business, economics and law. They are strengthened by diversity, and welcome students and academics who travel from all over the world to study and work there, ensuring an international and multicultural perspective within a close knit and historic campus.

The Challenge

For an institution that boasts both a highly diverse faculty and student body, having a global reach was always a necessity. However, people at RHUL saw that their interactive website was not doing justice to all that the university offered in terms of a vast array of stellar academic programs, a deeply engaging student life and a highly-qualified faculty. Neither did their website generate enough queries to gauge visitor engagement nor did its design allow a lot of two-way communication.

But perhaps their most critical issue was attracting bright students from all over the world through an Open Day that showcased all the institution’s culture, achievements and competencies. This was an easy feat if RHUL planned on gathering Londoners, however, with its thirst for maintaining and promoting a diverse and global learning environment, hosting a traditional campus-based Open Day would not suffice.

“We understand that not everyone is able to visit our campus due to other commitments so we wanted find a way to engage with our students digitally”– Camilla Potter, Student Recruitment Digital Manager.

The Solution

Going virtual was the obvious option, however, off-the-shelf solutions were not very appealing to RHUL. They wanted to host an Open Day that offered a window into their academic programs, support services and student life all in a bespoke platform that integrated well with their trademark website. With their top requirements being customizability and customer support and the dearth of virtual event platforms offering these features, their choice became narrow. After looking for leading virtual event solutions that could help them achieve their goal, RHUL decided to partner with vFairs.

vFairs offered many features to construct an interactive Virtual Open Day for RHUL. A 3-D Exhibitor Hall was designed that mirrored the university’s auditorium and served as a launchpad to various areas of the virtual event. Different information booths were placed all across the virtual space to provide visitors with detailed information on RHUL’s academic programs and co-curricular activities. All booths were enabled with individual chats that allowed visitors to directly interact with RHUL representatives heading the booth. A video vault was also available that archived interactive videos detailing the campus life and academic programs to make the event even more engaging. To top it all off, the event ensured attendees’ long-term engagement with RHUL’s content through a virtual brief case where attendees could store document and videos that they liked for future viewing and sharing.

The event was appropriately conducted in February (2017) to get the maximum audience to attend a virtual tour of the university for the term beginning in Fall.  The virtual environment was setup in less than 4 weeks to allow more time for the university staff to get acquainted with the platform. Thorough training was subsequently provided to all participating staff members to empower them with the ability to drive conversations with attendees and 24-hour customer support was also provided prior to and during the event.

RHUL’s requirement of customization was met by delivering a custom-made platform that mirrored their design guidelines. This gave visitors an experience akin to physically stepping into the university auditorium. A welcome video was placed right after login to greet visitors and inform them about the easy steps to operating through the virtual event. The event was kept interactive by allowing chat conversations with relevant people at the university answering all queries presented to them by the visitors. This real-time problem resolution was a crucial contributor to making the virtual event match and exceed expectations of a physical event.

Results

RHUL’s Virtual Open Day 2017 exceeded their attendance forecasts by the hundreds and chat interactions covered a broad range of topics enabling a high engagement score for the event. Several interactions encompassed topics like campus accommodation, tuition fee and campus life signaling the audience’s focus on an all-rounded university experience versus a purely academic one. Many visitors downloaded brochures from various booths and statistics on on-demand webinar views were also very satisfying.

Most importantly, the RHUL team felt at home using the platform owing to its easy-to-use interface and a detailed training session provided by the vFairs team at the time of onboarding. With a dedicated event manager and customer support team just a call away throughout the event, RHUL’s team felt very confident in hosting their first virtual open day. This assurance that any last minute changes will be accommodated and potential roadblocks will be managed instantly, enabled their team to focus on what mattered the most that is, engaging with visitors and answering their most pressing queries to bring the visitor one step closer to applying to RHUL.

“We were looking for a platform provider who could deliver a bespoke platform which would facilitate one-to-one chats and display information and videos in a visually pleasing way. vFairs offered this, alongside an extremely high level of customer service and the willingness to go above and beyond. We were pleased to see feedback saying that the platform was visually engaging and easy to use.” – Camilla Potter, Student Recruitment Digital Manager.


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