ICEF Digital Day

Selling international education the digital way

By Riel Bo

Dec 20, 2022

jamie blog

 

 

Technology has had a huge impact on the way people travel. Everyone started using digital tools to make their lives easier and more efficient and the same is true in the world of international education. Digital tools can help agents and educators sell more effectively and keep up with the changes in students’ needs.

In today's digital age, it's more important than ever to harness the power of technology to reach potential students all over the world. There are already many online tools and platforms that agents and educators use to their advantage, from social media networks to websites and search engines.

By using these resources effectively, agents and educators can connect in a more engaging and effective way than ever before. So let's explore some of the best ways to sell international education in the digital age!

 

An overview of the evolution of the travel industry

Let’s think about the travel industry for a moment.

In the past, traveling was a luxury reserved for only the wealthiest individuals, as it was expensive and time-consuming. However, advances in technology have made travel more accessible for people around the world.

The creation of a global distribution system (GDS) led to revolutionary changes in the travel industry.

 

What is a GDS? 

GDS is a unique shared network that enables travel agencies and their clients to access travel data, shop for and compare reservation options and book travel packages. It is a digital reservation tool for travel agents that enables them to access data and pricing in real-time. 

Travel agents became more productive in selling packages to their clients due to access to a unique central source of accurate pricing information for hotels, flights, car rentals, etc… 

There were also great benefits for the end user, making it possible for the customer to buy a flight on Google Flights for example. Without the GDS, where providers can input their pricing and reach the customers directly, this would have been impossible.  

 

do it yourself traveler

 

The era of the do-it-yourself traveller

Since 1996 and the launch of Expedia we’ve moved into a more hands-on approach to travel where the end customer decides when, where, and how much they want to pay for their travel experience. Platforms like Booking.com, Expedia, Skyscanner and others like them, enable users to make the bookings themselves. 

 

How is international education different? 

Even though travel and international education have a lot of similarities, they have followed slightly different paths. The international education industry has been evolving at a slower pace, adopting technological solutions that serve agency and education businesses while being careful not to lose the personalization of the human touch.

Around 2014, industry businesses started evolving from brochures and manual quotes to more sophisticated technology solutions that support more sales and customer service. The appearance and development of these technologies are pretty recent and there are still agencies and educators that have not yet learned of nor adopted this type of technology for their business.

international education is different

Meeting buyers where they are is important. As new generations become more accustomed to instant online buying experiences, it is important for businesses to shift in order to meet this immediate demand. Adaptation to technology means more efficiency, more visibility, and more sales for agents and educators. Removing repetitive manual tasks frees up staff to focus on growing the business, and the use of technology tools provides access to data which increases decision-making power. 

 

Why should international education businesses embrace technology?

Technology can fulfill the instant gratification need by offering a “book-right-away” experience for a student - where recruiters have the information available at their fingertips like pricing, accommodation, insurance, program length, location and others to complete bookings right away.  

 

today's buyers

 

What is required to shift the international education industry toward more digital solutions?

 

We can learn a lot from the travel industry about what is required for the effective selling of education online. Here are some current challenges the international education industry is facing:

Accurate pricing management - to get accurate pricing into the system recruiters are using to sell online to students there needs to be a collaboration between educators and agencies working across the same technologies. Educators would need to leave price lists and pdfs aside and embrace technology to feed their agency network. It would be ideal if educators also used the same system agencies use to recruit students for their own direct recruitment or to help their agents generate quotes.

GDS tech solution that is specific to the international education industry. There would need to be a consensus and widespread adoption of technology among educational institutions and language schools to create one single source of information which agencies and websites can feed from.


Live management of pricing and Increased dynamism The industry already works with dynamic pricing in some way, only instead of changing prices based on demand like flights or hotels do, we work with static prices, launching temporary promotions by market, but in practice, it is the same.

Dynamizing prices and being able to update your website or your agency network in real-time brings multiple benefits and can help you significantly increase your revenue. Luckily, this is already possible with Edvisor's technology, but not everyone has adopted it yet.

It is evident that technology can greatly assist the international education industry in various ways. However, it is crucial that we remain open to modifying our processes, experimenting with new ideas, and collaborating with other key players in the industry to develop an ecosystem that benefits us and helps drive the growth of this industry, which provides invaluable opportunities to students worldwide.

At Edvisor, we strive to make this a reality through our dedicated efforts every day. If you are unaware of our system or the new tools we have introduced, we encourage you to check out our website or schedule a call with our team to learn more.

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