This equates to more than 100 students, which Hotcourses CEO, Mike Elms, told The PIE News puts the company on course to exceed its own targets for the year.
“We’re able to focus in a detailed way on a small number of students and get a very high conversion rate”
The Ultimate Search tool, launched last year, has provided a strong foundation for the agency business by matching students’ qualifications with the entry requirements in destination countries, generating quality enquiries.
And a verification process completed via SMS has helped the company to identify strong leads, which has been key to conversion, said Elms.
“Two things are key: one is trying to sift our highest quality students, the most engaged, from those who are maybe not quite ready yet – maybe they’re just doing some initial investigation,” Elms told The PIE News.
“Then for those who you think are really engaged – ready to travel, have decided what they want to study, have the budget – making sure that you give them very high levels of engagement right through the whole process, so we’re able to focus in a detailed way on a small number and get a very high conversion rate.”
Digital technology such as Skype and Google Hangouts have featured heavily in the strategy, and 85% of the students enrolled so far have never been into a Hotcourses office.
“It just shows that the digital age has indeed arrived in the education counselling world,” commented Elms. “I suspect the days of having lots of high street agency shop fronts are numbered, just as they were with travel agents over a decade ago.”
Hotcourses will continue to focus its efforts on India for the next year, but may consider rolling its virtual agency model out to other countries in the future, Elms said.
English-speaking markets would lend themselves particularly well to the model, he commented, along with the Middle East and Indonesia, which generate “a tremendous amount of traffic” to the site.