The higher education sector in the UK and Europe is actively embracing digital transformation in order to support their recruitment drives, increase engagement and enhance student event experiences, according to meetings and events technology provider, Cvent.
“During the pandemic, higher education institutions relied on virtual and hybrid events to connect, engage, and interact with their various stakeholders.“ Cvent CMO Patrick Smith said. Virtual open days have been a way for institutions across the UK and Europe to engage with prospective students during lockdown restrictions. In the UK, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) found that over half of respondents (59%), from their recent survey, had attended a virtual open day, with the majority saying they had taken part in one or two.
In the post-pandemic environment, where in-person, virtual, and hybrid event options are likely to be expected, technology will now be essential for organisers in the higher education arena to engage prospective students, alumni, donors, and other important attendees more effectively, according to Patrick Smith. For campuses that support meetings and events including recruitment and freshers’ fairs, open days, faculty and alumni activities, fundraisers, international cultural events and more, leveraging event technology saves valuable time, freeing up resources to enhance outreach and engagement efforts. For attendees, it creates a seamless, personalised experience – both online and in-person.
The University of Portsmouth for example shifted to virtual events during the pandemic, utilising Cvent’s Attendee Hub to support recruitment events for under 16’s, under-graduates and post-graduates. Cvent’s technology enabled the university to connect with students online; reaching more than ever before, customise the user experience, support prospective students’ post-event and streamline processes across various departments. Overall, 16 events were hosted with 394 sessions, 9,376 registrants were recorded and 642 one- to -one appointments booked.
"By going virtual, we had the ability to reach more prospective students across time zones and more flexibility to offer more events during times that wouldn't have been conducive for face-to-face,” Kate Dunstone, Postgraduate and CPD Recruitment Manager, University of Portsmouth explains.
Cvent has many higher education clients in the UK and Europe including: Imperial College London, London School of Economics and Political Science, University College Birmingham, University of Bristol, University of Edinburgh, University of Portsmouth, International School of Brussels, New Zealand Academy of Digital Dentistry, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and the University of Duisburg-Essen, among others.