How to run a great Open Day!

Open Day

Open Day season is drawing to a close across Australia and New Zealand. Villages across the Southern Hemisphere share some essential tips to increase your presence and engage visitors at this vital event!

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

There is no such thing as ‘winging it’ when it comes to running a good Open Day. Make sure you start planning well in advance. How are you decorating your stall? Where will you be positioned on the day? What are you giving away? How will the village be presented for tour groups? These are all things that need to be part of your Open Day plan. Closer to the date of the event, it’s also important to make sure village staff, RAs and resident volunteers are armed with the information they need, excited and ready to go!

Top village tips:

“For good positioning it helps to keep in touch with the university’s Facilities Management and event organisers.” – Oliver Harbutt, Operations Manager, ECU Village, Bunbury

“Get all the staff together for a pep talk and breakfast before the big event.” – Anna Williams, Village Manager, UCA Student Village

“Have a day run sheet that includes all names and roles of people involved – people like to know what’s expected of them.” – Jenna Lockhart, Community Manager, UCA Student Village


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2. Create buzz around your stall

Visitors come for the fun and stay for the information. Make sure your stall stands out with giveaways, competitions and bold attention grabbers. Many villages, including RMIT Village, UCA Student Village and Murdoch University Village have had success drawing crowds with a village mascot!

Top village tips:

“Our mascot is Rocky. He’s rather shy but he comes out for most UCA InterHall events and Open Days. He strutted around on Open Day and waved at/hugged everyone. He’s so generous and encouraging!! Hounds for Life!” – Shelly Peebles, Director of Marketing, CLV New Zealand

“Novelty pens were a huge hit with adults, teens and children and will be sure to be remembered. They could also take a photo using our Instagram frame and go in the draw to win a portable speaker.” – Kathy Mae Tondut, Community Manager, Murdoch University Village

“We had a large marquee with a lounge set up on the side on Astroturf. This helped draw people in to sit down and chat to us. We had a pin board showcasing res life event pictures and posters. This worked really well to showcase our program and created a good talking point for staff.” – Tracy Johnston, Residential Life Duty Manager, Student Village Melbourne


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3. Create a sense of community at the Village for tours

Tours are a great opportunity to for potential residents to experience a slice of village life. Encourage visits with a fun promotion and create a friendly, buzzing atmosphere in village community areas. Of course, make sure display rooms are clean and presentable!

Top village tips:

When guests came to visit the stand they received donut vouchers for our donut truck parked at SVM – therefore drawing guests to our village for tours. We gave away goodie bags to guests that provided details and took interest. We had residents playing music in the courtyard to create a nice atmosphere as well as an event taking place in our study lounge.” – Tracy Johnston, Residential Life Duty Manager, Student Village Melbourne

“Get your residents to all wear their Village shirts and put on a good show!” – Brett Mckenzie, Residential Services Officer, Waitakiri and Waimairi Villages


4. Share on social media

Open Day is an in-person event, but don’t forget the digital connection! Share videos and live content on your social media channels to show potential visitors what they are missing out on if they aren’t at your stall! This includes Snapchat, Instagram Stories and Facebook Live.

5. Don’t forget the parents

A student’s accommodation choice is just as important for parents as it is for the resident. Parents are going through their own process of ‘letting go’ and need to feel secure in the fact that their child is going to be happy at university.

Top village tips:

“We make our parents feel as welcome as our residents during our Open Days. We include them in the tours of the accommodation, talk to them about life at WSA and our Live, Learn, Grow Program, we let them see what we have to offer first hand and talk openly about some of the challenges residents face and how we overcome these challenges. I always introduce members of the team and talk about everyone’s roles at WSA but most importantly we welcome everyone with a smile!” – Siobhen Brown, Village Manager, Wellesley Student Village

Have a great tip? Share it with us by tagging #clvupdate on SharePoint!