How to Recruit a Group Virtually
While cooped up and quarantined at home, many of us at ACIS have been dreaming about our next trip. Having something to look forward to has been a wonderful distraction from the everyday mundane routine. And although we can’t travel now, we know we will travel again and our belief in the importance of travel has only increased. We suspect that there are likely many of you who agree. So, to all you teachers out there excited to plan your next trip, let’s do it.
Recruiting a travel group now will require different techniques, but it’s still possible. Read on for tips on how to reach families and spark travel interest during these unprecedented times.
Schedule a Meeting:Use the video-conferencing platform of your choice and set up a meeting. Traditionally we’ve found the best times for meetings were Tuesdays, Wednesday or Thursday evenings between 6-7 pm. Consider if you’d like to invite your ACIS Program Consultant to attend and help lead the presentation. They’ve been itching to talk travel and, if available, would love to help!
One great video-conferencing platform we recommend is Zoom, which can host up to 100 people and is free for up to 40 minutes. It also offers unlimited 1 to 1 meetings if parents want to chat privately with you after.
- In Zoom, set up your account and find the “Schedule your Meeting” button in the top left-hand corner.
- Add a name, description, date and time for your meeting.
- Turn video on for both host and participant, and select “both” telephone and computer audio.
- For Meeting Options, we recommend not selecting “enable join before host”, but do select muting participants upon entry (so the only speaker is you), enabling the waiting room as participants wait for you to begin, and recording the meeting so can send it by email to those who could not attend.
Invite Participants:Send out an email to your potential pool of travelers, whether that’s just your students and their parents or the entire student body. Parents may be skeptical of you planning a tour now, so explaining why you believe travel is important will be more valuable than ever. Provide a few details about your chosen itinerary, and remind them the world is waiting for them once the Covid-19 virus is contained. Be sure to include the video conferencing details and any instructions for people unfamiliar with the process of logging in.
Before your Meeting:Just like for an in-person meeting, make sure you review your customized PowerPoint presentation with your program consultant and feel confident explaining why you chose to travel, why you chose ACIS, safety and insurance options and registration information. Also practice using the video conferencing software. Ensure your sound quality is clear, you know how to share your screen and utilize the controls.
On Meeting Day:
- Arrive to the virtual meeting slightly ahead of the scheduled time and have your PowerPoint presentation open in a second tab. Once you enter the meeting, you will see a “Share” button at the bottom of the screen, where you can share your computer screen with all other participants. Select your PowerPoint and confirm that everyone can see it before you begin your presentation.
- Ask that participants remain muted during your presentation, but if there is time at the end, invite them to unmute themselves to ask questions.
- If you have a large group you may consider encouraging your participants to submit questions via chat.
After the meeting:Email everyone a link to your TripSite as well as answers to any questions you did not get to in the meeting. We recommend also sending the recording of your meeting to those who have expressed interest, but could not attend.
In the following weeks, make sure to follow up via email and phone with everyone who attended or expressed interest. While email should be your main form of communication, this is also a good time to turn to social media efforts, creating a Facebook page or Twitter account for your trip as an alternative way to reach and excite your students. Remember, frequent communication will be key to making sure your group comes together!
As you can see, recruiting a travel group is done differently when stuck at home, but it is certainly possible and absolutely worthwhile.