How to Convert More Tours into Enrolments or Waitlist

Guide for Childcare with Real-Life Examples

 

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Tours At-A-Glance

Centre tours are one of the best and most important marketing tools at your disposal. They offer the highest conversion rate to enrolments and help families gauge whether your program will be a good fit for their child. For parents, a tour is the first impression they have of your centre and often the last step before they make the decision to enrol.

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The Australian Childcare Alliance conducted a survey in 2014 where families ranked their top priorities in choosing a childcare centre as: providing quality education and an environment where children can interact with other children.

This guide will show you how to successfully convert tours into enrolments, including the following topics:

  • Self-service with a virtual scheduling tool
  • How to prepare your team and centre for tours
  • What families expect during the touring process
  • How to overcome indecision among enquiring families
  • Essential next steps on how to convert
  • How to end with an enrolment
  • Benefits of using a CRM throughout the touring journey

Self-Service and Virtual Scheduling

The conversion process begins when families book a tour at your centre. Parents often only have about 5 minutes on their hands, so provide them with simple and fast scheduling options.

Allow families to schedule tours with ease by clicking a ‘Book a Tour’ button on your website and selecting their preferred tour date and time. The best part is, when you use a virtual tour scheduler like ChildcareCRM’s Parent-Scheduled Tours, you’re able to establish you and your team’s availability in advance.

It only takes a minute or two to build your custom tour schedule in ChildcareCRM with blocked off dates and time for holidays, important events, and more. Plus, parents like virtual scheduling because it removes the back-and-forth of sending emails or making phone calls to figure out a time that works for everyone.

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Marketing Your Centre’s 'Book a Tour’ Webpage

Getting families to your “Book a Tour” webpage can be challenging at times. But don’t forget you have a handful of platforms that can support you in getting the word out that you have availability for appointments at your centre.

Social Media

When posting updates on Facebook or another social platform, your calls to actions (CTA’s) should occasionally link to your ‘Book a Tour’ page. This creates an easy next step for the families who like your posts and keep up with your social activity. Providing a clear CTA in all of your posts increases the likelihood that parents move forward in your enrolment process.

Some examples of CTA’s when attempting to generate tours include:

  • Book a tour today!
  • Schedule a tour.
  • Come visit us.
  • Visit our centre.

In-Person Events

If your centre hands out flyers at the community shopping centre or library, make sure to include a QR code that links to your ‘Book a Tour’ page. Parents can easily scan the QR code with their phone’s camera app and will automatically be directed to that page. This is a fast, reliable, and cost-effective way to encourage families to book a tour, even on their days out. Check out this QR Code Generator to create links for your print materials, such as business cards, flyers, posters, mailers, and more.

How to Prepare for Tours

Preparation for the Team

Tours can be difficult for some people; and they might find it hard to be confident and support the centre during times of anxiety or stress. It’s best advised that you inform your team members as quickly as possible about touring families who might come through to the centre. Whether you want to inform educators each morning or on a weekly basis about potential tour appointments, this gives them time to prepare their rooms for those families and leads to a better experience for everyone involved.

Remember, if your educators are not prepared, this will decrease the chance of families enrolling at your centre. It can be quite obvious to families when there is a lack of communication and preparation for their arrival. This can indicate a sense of disorganization or uneasiness for parents who may already be concerned about entrusting their child(ren) to someone new.

Team meetings are also a great time to review the expectations for every educator during a tour.

 

Topics for discussion should include:
  • Ensuring children’s rooms are reasonably tidy at the start of each day and especially during designated tour times.
  • Being attentive to the families. This can be as simple as saying “Hi” and smiling and/or waving.
  • Educators being prepared to answer questions such as:
    • What kind of topics are children learning in this room?
    • How long have you been an educator?
    • My child loves [X interest or hobby], do you think you can accommodate to their interests?
    • What do families love most about being in your room?
    • What measures do you enforce in your room to keep children safe and healthy?
  • Allowing the touring families to engage with the other children and activities in the room.

Preparation for Centre Directors

To allow the best experience for yourself and the touring family, tours should be limited based on the centre’s routine. For example, hours from midday to 2pm would not be the best time to tour a centre, if children are encouraged to have their rest time during this period. The centre won’t look it’s best, children’s routines might be disrupted, and families won’t be able to experience the whole centre.

Let parents know your tour availability dates and times on your ‘Book a Tour’ page. If a parent asks to schedule a tour during a timeframe that isn’t ideal, provide an alternative time for their tour so they can get the most out of the experience.

 

An example conversation could sound like:

Parent: “Hi there, would I be able to come in for a tour at 12 pm tomorrow?”

Educator: “Hi [Parent Name], we would love for you to come in for a tour. Unfortunately, we don’t have a tour opening for 12pm tomorrow. Would you like to come in at 11:30 am or 2:30 pm instead?

At 11:30 am the children will be doing their meditation before nap and at 2:30 pm we will have sporting activities outside. You are more than welcome to come along and join during either time.”

Parent: “That sounds great! I’ll make time for 2:30 pm – please book me in.”

Educator: “Excellent! We will see you then – may I please have your name and phone number?”

Families' Touring Expectations

During tours, you may encounter a few different types of families. However, they will all be looking for the similar things, such as:

Safety and Health Measures

The safety of a centre is a parent’s number one priority. As such, it needs to be evident that the centre has followed all guidelines and regulations to keep children safe. During the tour, it would be helpful to point out specific items such as gate locks, pin code entry, sign in sheets, or your COVID-19 regulations to show parents that you are following proper safety and health measures every day.

Educators

The educators in your centre will be the ones that care for and create a strong relationship with the parent(s) and child(ren). Parents will be observing if the team of educators in their child’s room will support the family’s needs and the child’s development, foundational learning, and general care.

Enrolled Children

The child’s happiness is a key focus for many parents. It’s essential that you can showcase children’s engagement with centre activities during tours with prospective families. Aside from happiness and interest, children’s development and achievements are also important points for families. These milestones shows that children are not just at your centre to play but also to learn and grow.

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Curriculum and Programs

Childcare centres can often be misunderstood as “baby sitting” or “playgroup” to some parents. However, as we know, childcare centres are some of the most important environments in a child’s early life and play a pivotal role in development.

A childcare centre can help set up foundational skills and capabilities that will influence a child’s entire life, far into adulthood. Make sure that this topic becomes a part of your tour. Present to families where their child will learn literacy and numeracy skills, where their child will experience their sensory skills, how they will further social skills, and more. These are all important milestones in a child’s life that parents should be aware of and celebrate.

Communication with Families

An effective and efficient line of communication is highly regarded with families. It builds trust, understanding, and positive partnership during their time at your centre. In every interaction with the parents, especially during a tour and early stages of enrolment, it is vital that you are offering correct and relevant information, so that the parents can enrol easily.

This desire for streamlined communication carries over after a family has enroled. During tours, be sure to highlight your engagement with your enroled families and the tools you use to keep parents informed about their child’s day-to-day at the centre.

Unique Differentiators to Set You Apart

Have you conducted some research on your local area lately? Do you know if the other centre down the road has made changes to their programs or amenities that may begin to get families’ attention?

For example, maybe your competitor has upgraded their playground, changed their menu to organic, or added an enrichment program such as childrens’ yoga or music.

Gathering research on your competitors is an essential component to converting enquiring families. By knowing your competition and what they offer, you can set yourselves apart from the rest.

These differentiators can include minor modifications such as longer opening hours, lower educator turnover, unique play zones, in-depth programming, or multi-lingual educators. Any of these qualities can convince families that your centre is one of a kind.

Next Steps to Convert

 At the end of a tour, follow up is critical.

Make sure you have all the parents’ contact information and be sure to ask what method of contact they prefer. This enables you to follow up with further information for the family in a format that you know they’ll read.

Your follow up emails should include important dates, pricing, and links regarding how to enrol online. Ideally, you’re offering families convenient ways to register online through either desktop or mobile devices.

Follow-Up After a Cancellation or No-Show

By reaching out to learn why a tour appointment was missed, you and your team may begin to see some trends or notice process errors that could be corrected to improve the number of kept appointments. Reach out with a quick survey via email to ask families why they couldn’t make it to your centre. This is also a great time to encourage them to reschedule another appointment.

 

 

 

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