An open day is a well-known phenomenon in education. It is a very good way to introduce people to your school. Visitors enjoy getting to know the school or university they are applying to better and the organizers can show all aspects of their school or university to prospective pupils, students and stakeholders. This is also the reason why open days are increasing in popularity and the number of visitor days for open day events is increasing.
In this article, we give several good reasons for organizing an open day and practical tips for organizing a successful one.
5 reasons to organize an open day
There are many reasons why it is worth considering organizing an open day for your school, university or faculty. One of the reasons below may be enough, but you can be sure that several reasons are intertwined:
1. Increase brand awareness and image of your school
Those who visit your open day get to know your institution and possibly pass this on to others. This ensures a positive reputation and more brand awareness. Give away nice products with your school’s logo on it, like a water bottle with a logo or other cool stuff. In this way, your brand will hold up well even after the event of the open day.
2. Maintain contact with visitors
At a university, you usually communicate with existing students and their relatives via telephone or e-mail. An open day gives you the opportunity to talk to each other more informally. Give your (prospective) students a look behind the scenes so they can see what a day can look like at your particular institution. Show what you excel at and what you do to make it as good as possible for the students. In this way, you strengthen the relationship with both prospective students and their relatives to your brand and university.
3. Build a good relationship with the people who live near the school
Has your school recently moved? Or do you get a lot of questions from people in the area who are curious about what you do as an organization? Then an open day is the perfect way to introduce them! Maybe the locals will provide some extra word of mouth after the open day. So it is not wrong in several respects to invite them.
4. Recruitment of personnel
Attracting and retaining good staff is a major challenge for many organizations. You need to differentiate yourself from the competition and show why it’s fun to work for your organization. This is also known as employer branding. With the help of an open day, you can convince future employees to come and work for you. So it can be a very good part of your recruitment campaign.
5. Motivating staff
An open day can also have a motivating effect on your current staff. Let your employees think about the details of the open house. It’s something different from their usual activities and therefore extra fun to do!
In addition to the reasons mentioned above, a move, a reorganization or a renovation of your place can be an excellent reason to arrange an open day. It is the perfect way to receive visitors in an informal way. Because there you get to know each other in a pleasant, relaxed environment.
10 tips to make your open day a success
Now you know why it might be a good idea for your school or university to organize an open house. But how do you organize a successful open day? We list 10 tips for a well-organized open day.
1. Think carefully about the purpose of your open day
Think carefully about what you want to achieve with your open day and adjust the day and activities accordingly. Also discuss this with internal and external stakeholders. Everything that the guests perceive and experience is directly linked to your educational institution and the quality of the teaching. So make sure everything is arranged perfectly.
2. Allow enough preparation time
Organizing an open day takes time. You have to make a plan, engage the right people, schedule meetings and request quotes. In addition, it is important that your guests receive an invitation in time, so that they can keep this day free. Experience shows that you need at least three months to prepare everything properly.
3. Turn it into a project and provide a script
An open day consists of separate elements. Each element must be separate and well-ordered to merge in an instant. So put together a working group in good time to keep an overview and divide the tasks. Put the agreement in writing and draw up a scenario with all the documents.
4. Choose the right time
The right time may differ per target group. Try to find out what is the most favorable day for your visitors. Often a Friday afternoon is a nice time for an “excursion”, but a Saturday can also be a good day. Make sure your open day doesn’t coincide with a holiday or major event in the area.
5. Stay within your budget
It is important to set a budget in advance. If you involve external parties, it is good to request quotes and to make good price agreements, so that you are not faced with any surprises. It is wise to keep a 10% margin for unforeseen expenses.
Once you’ve mapped out the elementary issues, you can move on to inventory and figure out the practical issues that the following tips are about.
6. Make something special out of your invitation and invite the right people
- Make your invitation stand out so that it is actually “inviting”.
- Convey the right message.
- Invite (prospective) students, even if you have only communicated with them via email or phone before.
- Invite vendors and third-party companies that provide services and products to your institution.
7. Provide catering, wardrobe and attention to your visitors
- Make sure that the guests are welcomed in a good way on arrival.
- Set up a separate room with a well-organized closet.
- Outsource the catering to a professional company, so snacks and drinks are always available.
- Leave these matters to the right people, so you can focus all your attention on your visitors without any worries.
8. Pay attention to the tour of your university
- Provide professional guidance and explanation by well-prepared employees.
- Keep cupboards closed and make sure rooms and desks are tidy.
- Make sure there are no documents in front of the classroom
9. Make parking easy for guests
- Good parking prevents frustration and keeps your guest in a good mood. You can achieve this with the help of the following tips:
- Let guests know where to park their car.
- If necessary, indicate the parking option on clearly recognizable information signs.
- If necessary, use volunteers as parking monitors.
10. Give your guests a gift to take home
Give your guests a nice memory of your open day. Promotional items and business gifts are extremely suitable for this. You can have it printed with your school’s logo and text reminiscent of your open house. With a functional promotional gift, you will be regularly seen by your customers even after the open day. A great way to market your university and increase brand awareness. Consider, for example, a beautiful printed pen or a printed coffee mug. Both products will come in handy for everyone. Or give a USB stick with a logo with pictures or a presentation of your school. Make it a nice goodie bag with something good. It is also possible to print sweets with a logo. There are many ideas for a nice giveaway for visitors.
We’ll take that for next time
A good evaluation is an important part. Praise your co-workers and thank those who helped organize the open day for their efforts. It is really appreciated. What went well? What are the points of improvement? Learn from the experiences and use them to organize an open day that will be even more successful next time. If you’ve made promises to your guests, it’s important to document and follow through on them.
If you have an open day soon, we hope that our tips contribute positively to this. We are more than happy to help arrange the right advertising material for your particular open day. Contact our sales department if you need help with your order!