by Tiffany Lechinger
10 Secrets To Recruiting A Full Group
The strategy used by an STA mega group
I think we can all agree that one of the most difficult parts of educational travel is getting students and parents on board to participate. In addition to convincing students and parents to register, many schools have created challenging hurdles to the open promotion of the tour. You must never lose sight of the fact this tour is a life-changing experience and will likely become your most meaningful and effective teaching opportunity. Thus, you must be prepared to think outside the box and go the extra mile in your recruiting efforts. Here are just a few ideas I utilized in recruiting some of School Tours of America’s largest groups.
1. Make an effort to personally invite as many students as possible
I can’t emphasize enough the power of a personal invitation. Throughout the year, make it a priority to reach out to as many students as possible in the hallways, after class, at school events, in the cafeteria, at bus duty, etc. Build relationships with them and ask them if they plan to participate in your trip. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they respond when they know you have made a special effort to invite them individually.
2. Build relationship with your students
Students want to travel with teachers they like and respect. Get to know your kids. Go to their games, ask about their weekend, and create an inviting classroom atmosphere.
3. Create a poster or display board with pictures from previous trip
Create a poster with pictures from the previous year’s trip and post it in the front of your room.
4. Include an announcement in your community newsletter
Create an ad or press release for a local newsletter. Be sure to include a great photo of a student(s) on tour, a link to your MyTour website, and information about your parent meeting.
5. Recruit students who can recruit
Recruit two or three outgoing, likeable, well-connected students who are enthusiastic about the trip to promote the tour to other students. Ask them to collect student email addresses in order to send out an email introducing yourself and announcing the informational meeting. Additionally, ask them to use their social media sites to enthusiastically promote the tour.
6. Announce the information meeting at Open House
Schedule your information meeting one to two weeks after your school’s Open House. Prior to Open House, post the date, time, and location of your meeting in your classroom (and in your co-worker’s classrooms). Display your trip poster near the place where you post your meeting information. Bring attention to the announcement as you talk to parents. At a minimum, hand out promotional postcards with your MyTour website URL.
7. Set up a booth at ‘Express Days’
Many schools now have express days before the school year begins so that students can get their schedules, lockers, P.E. uniforms, and so forth. Set up a booth at your express day. Bring a poster with pictures of the previous year’s trip. Have extra information packets on hand, and be sure to make parents aware of the information meeting and your MyTour website.
8. Create a travel club
Many teachers offer after-school clubs or clubs that meeting during a homeroom or advisory class period. Create a travel club. Allow students to have a voice in planning the itinerary, sites, restaurants, recruiting, information meeting and so forth. Instilling a sense of tour ownership in your students is invaluable.
9. Recruit teachers who will boost your numbers
Choosing good chaperones can be critical in getting students on board. Recruit two or three well-respected, well-liked teachers to help spread the word. Assure them that they will travel if they help you reach the numbers needed to bring along additional chaperones.
10. Create a daily announcement
Most schools makes daily announcements whether they are on classroom monitors, in school newsletters, or over the loud speaker. Create an announcement that will run two to three weeks prior to your trip meeting. Create additional announcements as deadlines approach.