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DESIGNING AND MARKETING STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS

By Carol Diaz,2014-01-20 22:02
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DESIGNING AND MARKETING STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS

    AIB-SE (USA) 2003 Annual Meeting, Clearwater, FL

    DESIGNING AND MARKETING STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS:

    AN UPDATE CREATING A SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCE

    Bob Goddard, Appalachian State University

    Bonnie Guy, The Entrepreneur’s Source & Appalachian State University

    Kevin Kennedy, Appalachian State University

The purpose of this panel discussion is to present ideas about successfully planning and marketing Study Abroad

    programs. It is designed to help both novice and experienced trip leaders design and market rewarding Study

    Abroad experiences.

Introduction

    The Study Abroad segment is one of the fastest growing segments of the educational market. Currently, there

    are over 1300 Study Abroad programs in the United States. A properly planned and marketed Study Abroad

    program can be a wonderful educational experience for college students and faculty, while a poorly planned and

    marketed program will be a disaster.

    The theme of the discussion will be the marketing mix (price, product, promotion, place, and markets and

    constituents), and how each element applies to a Study Abroad program. The panelists will address the elements of

    the marketing mix.

Product

    Product issues include: The type of Study Abroad program to consider (year long exchange, semester, summer,

    use of home or host country faculty). Where to go (primary destinations, company and/or cultural visits), course

    offerings (academic credits and requirements, independent studies vs. formal class structure), and related topics (pre-

    trip acculturation, advanced itineraries, t-shirts, etc.).

Type of Program

    While ASU and the College of Business offer many different types of Study Abroad options for students, this

    discussion only includes the so-called Short-Term Study Abroad programs. These are generally offered in the

    summer sessions, during Spring Break, or during the time between the Fall and Spring semesters. For 2004, the

    College of Business at ASU will offer six Summer Study Abroad programs; Asia (Japan and Korea), Scandinavia

    (Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway). Germany (including day trips to Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland and France), Italy, France, and China. The China (Holland Fellows) program is a special case; applications are

    competitive and travel is subsidized by a grant from a North Carolina firm. The Denmark Project is another special

    program students spend a week in Denmark in March, and their travel is also subsidized by the College of

    Business. Spring Break trips have gone to Mexico and Germany in the recent past. As of the date of this writing, it

    is not clear what Spring Break trips will be offered in 2004.

Where to Go

    You may have a real desire to see Egypt, but do students see Egypt as a desirable place to spend the summer?

    More important, do their parents see Egypt as a desirable place to send their sons or daughters? Typically, we have

    found that the European countries are attractive to students and parents, while Russia has been a harder sell. You

    will have to balance your own interests with those of your prospective market of students. Of course, the more

    students who participate in existing Study Abroad programs, the easier it is to sell those programs the next time.

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    Destinations for our Summer Study Abroad programs have included China, Japan, England, France, Germany, Italy,

    Switzerland, and Australia. While student interest has helped decide these destinations, faculty interest remains the primary determinant of the ultimate location. It seems as though there are enough students who are interested in these destinations to validate the choices of the faculty.

Course Offerings / Academics

    Each of the Summer Study Abroad programs involves student visits to business in the destination country. In the case of the Germany program, seven business visits are scheduled. Additionally, most of these programs also include contact with students from partner universities. The Summer Study in Germany (Business) program in 2003 had the U.S. students teaming with students from Universität Trier, working on business cases, and made

    presentations on those cases. There were, of course, many opportunities for these student teams to get together socially, as well as professionally. This cross-cultural team experience was, for many students, the highlight of the trip.

    Our Summer Study course offerings are the same across all of the trips. Students will take a 6-semester hour course entitled BUS 3xxx, Business and Culture in _____. Instructors are allowed to tailor the course to fit their own requirements, but each of the courses should include elements of both business and culture.

    For the Summer Study in Germany program, I have student teams research each of the businesses we will be visiting and prepare a written report prior to our departure for Germany. We meet for 2? hours every other week during the Spring semester, and include German language instruction (the basics of etiquette and menu German),

    discuss current events pertaining to Germany, and try to prepare them for the trip experience. Also prior to our departure, the class takes a Group Interaction Course offered by the Outdoor Programs folks at ASU. This is a

    team-building activity designed to bring the group together, and is followed by a pizza party at a local restaurant. I would highly recommend this kind of activity; in fact, one student said that this activity was his favorite part of the Study Abroad experience!

Related topics

    It is important to be as organized as possible, while being flexible to take advantage of situations that arise while overseas. Organization includes having all of the accommodations and travel arrangements made prior to

    departure, and making that information available to all interested parties. Included should be contact information (mail, phone, fax, email, web addresses) so that parents and others can contact students and faculty while abroad. It is recommended that trip leaders have the ability to be contacted by mobile phone while abroad. This information should be included in a trip itinerary and made available to all interested parties, either on-line or in paper form.

Pricing

    Pricing includes what prices are acceptable and/or attractive to the target market (students and parents), scholarship and other types of financial aid, payment schedules and refund policies, budgeting, pricing the

    "package", inclusions and exclusions, and price as a marketing tool in competing with other program offerings.

Acceptable Pricing

    One of the first things a prospective student traveler will ask a trip leader is, “How much does it cost?” A

    legitimate question, and one in which all parties are extremely interested. One of the first things that a trip leader should do is to prepare a budget, listing everything that it might be possible to spend funds on in a Study Abroad

    program. A sample budget for Appalachian State University’s Summer Study in Germany (Business) program, a

    four-week program, is included in Appendix A.

Package vs. Menu Pricing

    The total cost of the Summer Study in Germany (Business) program is $3,200, which includes airfare, inland travel, lodging and board, and all entrance admissions. This is an all-inclusive price; students need only pay for souvenirs, gifts, etc. Dr. Kennedy’s Summer Study (German Language) program is less expensive, but students

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    must find their own airfares. Astute shoppers often can find specials with on-line airfares but the College of

    Business at ASU requires that students be given a complete package price.

    Note that this program is limited to sixteen student travelers. Because we are affiliated with Dr. Kennedy’s

    Summer Study in Germany (Language) program, we cannot take more than sixteen students, given the hotel and bus

    space limitations. All of the programs in the College of Business require two faculty members, a Trip Leader and an Associate Trip Leader, for safety and other concerns. A cost-saving advantage of this affiliation is that only one

    faculty member from the College of Business is required, since Dr. Kennedy counts as a second faculty member.

    Scholarships / Financial Aid

    Students who apply for our Summer Study Abroad programs can receive full financial aid to cover the costs of the trip. One individual in our Financial Aid office has the responsibility of assisting our students in qualifying for this aid. A number of scholarships earmarked especially for Summer Study Abroad exist, and students go through

    the process of applying and qualifying for them just as they would for any other scholarship. The COB Scholarship

    Committee makes the final decision on awarding these scholarships.

Payment Plans

    We have set up a payment plan so that students do not have to bear the cost of the trip all at once. After an initial down payment of $300, three payments of $966.66, due on certain dates, must be made. Our refund policies

    are rather strict, and students sign a binding agreement when making their down payment that obligates them for the

    full price of the trip, even if they do not go for some reason. While there is some flexibility in this policy, it is designed to ensure that those who sign up for the trip actually go on the trip. Since space is limited to sixteen

    students, drop-outs with refunds would place the entire trip in jeopardy.

Exchange Rate and other Considerations

    The exchange rate between the U.S. and the country of interest can be a source of hidden costs. Unfortunately, you will not know what the exchange rate will be at the time of departure, but you should do a little research on the exchange rate trends to give you some idea about what effect changes might have on your planning. As a hint, if

    you anticipate that the currency of the country of interest might rise in value (relative to the U.S. dollar), you might want to transfer U.S. funds to your foreign bank account as early as possible, in order to take advantage of the

    situation.

    A word of caution: Be very conservative in your estimates. It is much easier to give students a rebate (extra

    meal, theater tickets, etc.) than to underestimate costs and have to go back to them for extra money prior to departure. A low trip price probably means you made a mistake somewhere. Check, double-check, and check again. Have an

    experienced Trip Leader go over your budget to make sure you are not forgetting anything.

    The key thing to remember is to keep accurate records of all expenses (and revenues, if necessary) while you are overseas. Keeping a journal on the events of the trip, with space set aside for recording the expenses of the day is a good idea. Update the journal daily - write down your thoughts and experiences so that you can make

    suggestions and recommendations about improving the trip next year.

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    Promotion

    Promotion consists of advertising, selling, public relations, and sales promotion. Advertising concerns might

    include methods and media of choice, relative effectiveness, timing, attributes and aspects stressed in advertising

    messages. Selling might involve personal "sales pitches" from faculty or former Study Abroad students. Selling

    situations and appropriate approaches and sales techniques, major selling points, selling to parents, selling the trip to

    potential financial sponsors are other topics that will be addressed. Public Relations involves word-of-mouth,

    communication through student clubs and organizations, study abroad fairs, prospective student socials, students

    wearing t-shirts from previous Study Abroad trips. Sales Promotion activities might include "give aways", contests,

    early-bird discounts and other ideas.

    Advertising

    Now is the time to design your promotional fliers and brochures. You have developed an itinerary (however

    tentative it might be). That itinerary should be the basis for any promotional print materials you may produce and

    distribute. This can be one of the most satisfying parts of the process for the Trip Leader (and/or other faculty going

    on the trip).

    The printed word is informative, but pictures/illustrations really are the attention getters for students. Don't be

    afraid to use color in your promotional materials - even if it is colored paper with black print. Color gets attention.

    You might think that bright pink or chartreuse are ugly colors - but students will notice them (and maybe even read

    the material on them!). Have fliers on bulletin boards in classrooms, lounges, and hallways. Have brochures ready

    to give to students when they inquire about your trip.

Public Relations

    You will find that utilizing students who have participated in previous Summer Study Abroad programs to

    discuss their experiences in class presentations and informational meetings is an especially effective method of

    promotion. Students who have been on the Study Abroad Program trips are enthusiastic and more than willing to

    share their experiences with other students. And prospective Summer Study students are more willing to listen to

    (and to believe) other students who have been on these trips than to listen to you. After all, you have something to

    gain by recruiting these prospective students to your program - former Study Abroad students will be perceived as

    having nothing to gain by sharing their experiences. Prospective students will probably feel more comfortable

    asking these experienced students questions about their experiences. These former Study Abroad students can be

    the best marketing tools you can utilize for promoting your trip.

    Participate in programs such as a Summer Study Abroad Expo, sponsored by your International Studies Office.

    Be ready with your flashiest posters, videos, etc., so that you can compete with the other Summer Study Abroad

    programs. You may find that there is interest in your program from students you would not normally reach in a

    promotional campaign limited to a College of Business.

Timing

    Have your promotional materials ready as early in the Fall semester as you can. "The early bird catches the

    worm" is a truism. The earlier you can get the information to your prospective students, the better and easier for all

    of you. Students should have materials so that they can discuss the trip with parents early in the Fall semester.

    You will find that they will talk about participating in a Summer Study Abroad program with parents over Fall

    Break and Thanksgiving, and that you will experience the bulk of registrations before Christmas, with only a few

    trickling in during the early part of the Spring semester.

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    Selling

    Generally, you will get inquiries from students enrolled in other schools. I have found that some students will be interested enough to send for information, and will actually register and join your program. Our International

    Studies Office advertises our programs in publications that reach students all over the country. These

    advertisements just mention where our Summer Study Abroad programs are going - no particulars about each

    program. You will have to be a source of information for those students inquiring from other schools - and they are likely to request information about competing Summer Study Abroad programs. Do the other Trip Leaders a favor

    and share your contacts - even if the student chooses not to go on your program, he/she might register for another

    program. This benefits everyone!

    Schedule Informational Meetings early in the Fall semester - and schedule more than one so that students have the chance to listen to your presentation. Have your promotional materials ready, plan the meeting to last no more than one hour, and keep it lively. You may wish to have refreshments (pizza, chips, soft drinks, etc.). Make sure that you give former Summer Study Abroad participants the opportunity to address the meeting. Perhaps a video / ? presentation made by earlier participants might be shown. Travel videos are available from PowerPointBlockbuster Video (and perhaps your library) - you might want to show one (again, a picture is worth a thousand

    words!). Promotion can be fun. You will meet lots of students face to face, and your enthusiasm for your program

    will grow. Promotional activities also includes following up on your meetings.

Place

    Place issues involve logistics and transportation (modes of travel, specific lodging requirements, the use of travel agencies to make appropriate arrangements.

Transportation

    There are five transportation components you should think about - Transportation to the point of departure, the flight from the U.S. to your country of choice, inland transportation, the flight back to the U.S., and transportation back to home/school.

    You really don't have to be responsible for parts 1 and 5; they are the student's responsibility and not yours. Your main transportation concerns are the flights to and from the country of choice, and the inland transportation

    while in the country. At ASU, Trip Leaders are free to make their own travel arrangements. We are not tied into

    one travel agency, although it might be worth our while to try to tie in all of the Summer Study Abroad trips to an

    agency, in order to get the best rates.

    You should know that most travel agents will “comp” one ticket for every twenty sold. That is, they will give

    you one ticket (you must pay taxes and other related fees) for each block of twenty tickets you purchase from them.

    You should use this “free” ticket to lower the overall cost of airfares for your students. Your travel agent should be

    able to set up your students (or update their account) in the frequent-flyer program of your airline.

    The earlier you can book your block of tickets, the better rates you will get, generally. Your travel agent will want some form of deposit for each ticket sold, and the agent will also need to know the names of the students for

    ticketing purposes. Remember, you will be traveling during the peak season, so you won't get a break by waiting

    until the last minute to book. In fact, you may find that you are unable to get a booking when you want if you wait

    too long! Your travel agent is a key player in this process get him or her a copy of your itinerary as soon as possible, along with a projected head-count of everyone going (including family members).

    It is a good idea to book from and to a hub airport, if at all possible. If you can book a non-stop, overnight departure from the U.S., it will put you at your destination (in Europe) early in the morning, so that you can move

    from the arrival city (London, Paris, Frankfurt, Stockholm, etc.) to where your program will be housed during that

    first day. Your return flight should depart no later than 2:00 PM if you want to arrive in the United States at a

    reasonable hour (9:00 PM). Avoid layovers and flight changes, it helps the nerves, not to mention lessening the

    chances for lost luggage.

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    Inland transportation can be booked through the travel agent as well. Use a reliable carrier who has a history of good service, if possible. We have used the same coach company for our Summer Study in Germany program for

    over 20 years. It furnishes coaches (busses) equipped with bathroom facilities for longer day trips. It charges the

    same whether you have 15 or 40 people, so the more people you take on your trip, the lower rate charged each

    individual. Lock in your rates prior to departure, and keep in touch with your coach operator while in your country

    of choice. Check with them prior to each day trip, so that you are sure to be on the same schedule. It is a good idea to continuously check with them once you arrive, so that there will be no surprises.

     Conclusion

    This panel / paper is just a primer for you. If you have ever thought of leading a Study Abroad program but were hesitant to do so, just remember; “The longest journey begins with the first step.” This is just a first step. This panel was designed to help you take that first step. The work that goes into a Study Abroad program may seem

    daunting at first, but once you take the first step, the rest falls into place. You have a chance to provide your

    students with the experience of a lifetime, something that they will carry with them forever. As we hear over and

    over, “This (Study Abroad) has been the best experience of my college career.” What greater gift can a teacher give

    a student?

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    Appendix A Sample Budget

    GERMANY-2004 BUSINESS SUMMER STUDY PROGRAM

    WALKER COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

    Preliminary Budget

    as of: 1 October 2003

    (based on 1 faculty and 16 student travelers)

INCOME

    Program: $3,200.00 x 16 students $51,200.00 Tuition: $81/s.h. x 6 s.h. x 16 students $ 7,776.00

EXPENSES

    2. International Travel $1,000.00 x 16 students + 1 faculty $17,000.00

3. Lodging:

    Kolpinghaus-Trier $270.00 x 16 students + 1 faculty 4,590.00

    Hotel Poppular-Wurzburg $120.00 x 16 students + 1 faculty 2,040.00

    Hotel Herzog-Wilhelm $160.00 x 16 students + 1 faculty 2,720.00

    Hotel Atlanta-Freiburg $135.00 x 16 students + 1 faculty 2,295.00

    Bacharach Hotel $130.00 x 16 students + 1 faculty 2,210.00 15,895.00 4. Board:

    Student Meal Allowance 5,000.00

    Faculty Meal Allowance (1 X $25 X 30 days) 750.00 5,750.00 5. Inland Travel: (Intercity Bus) 4,000.00

    (Bus Passes-Trier) 250.00

     (Train) 900.00 5,150.00 6. Advertising, Printing, Mailing, Photos 100.00 8. Insurance: $ .90 x 30 days x 16 students 432.00

     $2.00 x 30 days x 1 faculty 60.00 492.00 9. Trip Program Funds:

    Trip to Luxembourg 450.00

    Trip to Colmar, France 200.00

    Trip to Salzburg, Austria 200.00

    Wine Tasting-St. Jacobus Winery 300.00

    Guide Books 400.00

    Admissions to museums, etc. 300.00 1,850.00 10. Trip Contingency/Development (5%) 2,560.00 11. International Studies: $200 x 16 students 3,200.00 12. Miscellaneous Costs (Telephone, copying, classroom rental, etc.) 3.00

    Total Expenses $51,200.00

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    Appendix B Sample Itinerary

    ITINERARY - 2003 SUMMER STUDY ABROAD IN GERMANY

6/30 (Mon) Depart Charlotte for Frankfurt

    __________________________________________________________________ ___ _______ _Trier 7/ 1 (Tue) Arrive in Frankfurt-AM. Transfer to Trier. Stay at Kolpinghaus. Free time to explore. 7/ 2 (Wed) Class. 9-1 Trier-U.S. Case Group Meeting. Guided Walking Tour of Trier.

    7/ 3 (Thu) Class. 9-1 Trier U.S. Case Group Meeting. Visit St Mattias Church.

    7/ 4 (Fri) Class. 9-1 Trier-U.S. Case Group Meeting. Lord Mayor’s Reception at the Rathaus. 7/ 5 (Sat) Class. Day trip to Luxembourg (bus).

    7/ 6 (Sun) Free time to explore Trier and the area.

    7/ 7 (Mon) Class. 9-1 Trier-U.S. Case Group Meeting and Presentation.

    7/ 8 (Tue)** Class Business Study Presentations - St. Jacobus/Wurzburg Winery. Afternoon visit to St.

    Jacobus winery**

    7/ 9 (Wed) Class Business Study Presentations - BMW/DaimlerChrysler. 7/10 (Thu)** Class Business Study Presentations Hirschvogel/Japan Tobacco. Afternoon visit to Japan

    Tobacco.**

    7/11 (Fri) Free time to explore Trier and the area.

    7/12 (Sat) Class Transfer to Cologne (train). Visit Cologne cathedral, go to Koblenz. 7/13 (Sun) Class Cruise down the Rhine River, return to Trier.

    7/14 (Mon) Class Business Study Presentation Kugelfischer. Going Away Party (evening). _______________________________________________________________________ ____ Wurzburg 7/15 (Tue) Bus to Wurzburg - stay at Hotel Poppular.

    7/16 (Wed) Class Visit to the Residenz.

    7/17 (Thu)** Class Afternoon visit to Wurzburg Brewery**

    7/18 (Fri)** Class Plant visit - Kugelfischer, AG.**

    7/19 (Sat) Class Visit Rothenburg (bus or train).

    _________________________________________________________________ ____ ________Munich 7/20 (Sun) Bus to Munich. Stay at Hotel Herzog-Wilhelm. Dinner at Hofbrau Haus. 7/21 (Mon) Class Plant visit - BMW headquarters & museum and Munich Olympic park.

    7/22 (Tue) Class Day trip to Salzburg, Austria (bus).

    7/23 (Wed) Class visit Neuschwanstein.

    7/24 (Thu)** Class Plant visit - Hirschvogel (10 AM).** Visit Dachau.

    ___________________________________________________________________ ___ _ ___Freiburg 7/25 (Fri)** Class Bus to Freiburg. Visit en route (afternoon) - DaimlerChrysler Woerth Plant.** 7/26 (Sat) Class Black Forest Titisee (bus).

    7/27 (Sun) Class Day trip to Colmar, France (bus).

    7/28 (Mon) Class Going Away Party (evening).

    _____________________________________________________________________ ___ __Frankfurt 7/29 (Tue) Depart Freiburg for Charlotte (6:00 AM bus from Freiburg to Frankfurt airport)

NOTES: What you will get out of this course will be in direct proportion to your contribution to the course, in

    terms of preparation, discussion, interest, and participation. This is a unique learning opportunity for all of us; studying in a foreign setting. The members of the faculty will serve as valuable resources for you, but they cannot substitute for your personal initiative and curiosity. Explore on your own; use the faculty

    available for reference, but be inquisitive and seek knowledge wherever you travel. Make the most of this opportunity.

     ** “Nice” clothes required –men-slacks & button-up shirts& ties / women-pants or skirts/blouses.

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    Appendix C - Flight Schedule Germany-2003

    Departing Monday, 30 June 2003 (Charlotte-Douglas International) US Airways Flight 192 Non-stop Dinner

    Boeing 767 Coach Flight time: 8 hrs 40 min

     Depart 30 June CLT 4:10 pm

    Arrive 1 July FRA 6:50 am

    Returning Tuesday, 29 July 2003 (Frankfurt International Airport) US Airways Flight 193 Non-stop Lunch

    Boeing 767 Coach Flight time: 9 hrs 50 min

     Depart 29 July FRA 11:45 am

     Arrive 29 July CLT 3:35 pm

We will need to be at the Charlotte-Douglas Airport NO LATER than 2:00 PM on 30 June. Security issues, plus the

    need to check us all in at once requires us to be there on time. You will need to have your passport and e-ticket

    confirmation with you they will not let you on the plane without a passport!

    Important information (prefix for Germany is 011-49)

    Hotel Phone Fax Email .

    Kolpinghaus Trier 0651-97525-0 0651-97525-40 info@Warzberger-Hof.de

     (7-1 7/15)

    Wurzburg

     Hotel Poppular 0931-32277-0 0931-53345 info@popp-wuerzburg.de

     (7/15 7/20)

    Munich - Hotel

     Herzog-Wilhelm 89-23036-0 89-23036-701 info@herzog-wilhelm.de

     (7/20 7/25)

    Frieburg

     Hotel Atlantic 761-28697-0 761-28909-0 info@atlantichotel.de

     (7/25 7/29)

    Bob’s Cell 179-869-1222 (emergencies only, please)

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