While I am lucky enough to exist somewhere in the middle of the recruitment spectrum, I work with many group leaders who are not. I have a few ideas that I would like to share with you to think outside the classroom, and fill your bus full of travelers, in-spite of the challenges that you face being restricted to advertising outside of school.
First and foremost, follow the rules! Don't take any risks that might put your job in jeopardy. It is possible to spread the word about your tour outside of the classroom. There are many successful Group Leaders who cannot advertise at school. I would encourage you to know the rules. Find out exactly where the line is when it comes to advertising your tour. Ask these questions:
- Where can I put up posters? (Just inside my classroom? Not at all?)
- What are the boundaries on talking about the tour in my classroom? (Can I mention it, but not pass out printed information? Can I use a power point? Is there a strict restriction on mentioning it at all?)
- Am I allowed to send out emails to parents, as long as I am clear it is not school sponsored?
Wherever you exist on the spectrum, consider using some of these tips:
Word of Mouth. One of the best ways to advertise for your tour is by word of mouth. Can you...
- Attend school extra curricular events, and talk to the parents about your upcoming tour?
- Spread the word with community organizations? Parents are the members of those organizations, and are usually excited to hear about travel opportunities.
- Post on a neighborhood posting site, or a community announcement board? This will really get people talking!
Student Ambassadors. Ask some students to be "ambassadors" for your travel program. Ask them to share trip information on their social media, and create incentives for spreading the word to all of their friends! I used this strategy a few years back, and I ordered some t-shirts for the students and armed with with fliers, and pre-made social media posts to share with everyone they knew. My advice would be to only ask students that you know really well, and feel comfortable explaining the role of ambassador to their parents.
Use Social Media. In today's world, it seems as though EVERYONE is connected through social media. Beef up your social media presence and put it to work for you. Here are some ways to use your social media to recruit new travelers:
- Create an account or "page" dedicated to your travel program. Use your own personal social media account to "share" the travel related page with all of your friends and followers. For example, I have a Facebook page solely dedicated to my travel program. I use my personal account to share the travel page to my Facebook timeline to spread the word about my upcoming tour. I also created a Twitter account for my travel program (@RaiderWorldTraveler), and I promote my upcoming tour, share pictures, reminders, etc.
- Include the link or handle to your social media pages in your email signature or other correspondence that your students and their families might come into contact with.
Don't lose heart! You can still let people know about about your tour, even though advertising in the classroom is off limits. Lots of group leaders do it, and you can too!
I would love to hear your ideas about recruiting outside the classroom. Please put them in the comments below!