Overseas recruitment trips cost a lot of time, effort, money and resource so it is important that you make the most from each trip or else it could be a massive waste of time. Below are a few tips on pre trip, real time and post trip planning.
Pre Trip Planning
Location – where are you going and when exactly? Is this the right time of year in the recruitment cycle depending on the market you are targeting and based on the overall recruitment strategy?
Staff Travelling – think about whether the member of the team is appropriate for the trip. Do not send an introvert who does not like speaking to people on a 10 day trip doing exhibitions all day.
Budget – how much do you have to spend on your trip and will this be enough to make it a success. It is better to spend less time doing high value and high quality activity than a longer trip wasting time and resource, not meeting potential students or other stakeholders.
Activity – are you doing an exhibition in a number of different locations? Will you be meetings agents, sponsors, alumni, private companies, Ministries, the British Council etc? A combination of quality activity will yield better results than just focusing on one area and hoping for students to show up. Mix it up and get your name out there.
Itinerary – when putting together your itinerary make sure you don’t overload it with unachievable meetings or too little time in between appointments. Print it off and send it to yourself by email and to your colleagues in the office along with all emergency contact details and travel insurance info.
Flights – can your travel agent book all flights or are some of the airlines not available so you will need to book them yourself.
Accommodation – do you know the accommodation where you are staying and are they safe and secure? Perhaps you don’t need a hotel, how about airbnb or something similar? Can you book directly or does it always have to be via travel agents? Some organisations will not let you book a hotel out with the travel agents available hotels but maybe booking direct is cheaper and can save you money.
Visa and Inoculations – are your jabs up to date for the country or do you need a quick visit to the local travel clinic for a review? Do you need anti malarial or anything else for the type of environment or weather you might face?
Public Holidays – have you checked if there are any public holidays for your proposed visit or is there something going on like a presidential election that might scupper your plans?
Literature – are you taking literature or a banner stand with you in your luggage or have you send it before you travel? Do you have enough business cards? Do you have any corporate gifts for any particular meetings? Are they appropriate?
Safety – if you have never been to the country or city is there someone you can speak to about the safety aspect? Can you just grab a taxi at the airport on arrival or is this not recommended? Have you checked your countries government travel warning to see if any location is dangerous or going on in your destination?
Promoting the Trip – have you informed all your offer holders, enquirers etc that you are visiting the country and are all open to the public visits listed on your website? Can they call you or email you when in country and is this information available to view? Are you spending money on pre trip promotion and if so what is the return from this spend?
Cash – cash is king, take some cash in various currencies as your credit card might be declined or lost. Be prepared for this, always good to have cash in the local currency or pound sterling and US dollars.
On the Trip – Real Time Considerations
Be flexible – sometimes things just go wrong. The airport pick up does not arrive, freight has gone missing, meetings don’t work out, and the hotel cannot find your booking and have bumped you to a mediocre hotel 10 miles away! One must be flexible and resilient when going overseas.
Lead Generation – do you have an app to gather all leads from the trip or something else to make sure you can collect any such info and is it working and set up properly? If it goes wrong do you have a backup plan?
Checking in – are you checking in daily with your colleagues or loved ones back home? Keep in touch with home!
Hospitals – if you are heading across the world to a new and perhaps remote location, do you have the details of all local hospitals? Just in case
Take Notes – overseas trips can bring up many opportunities and challenges, make sure you take notes daily so that when you get back home you can review these notes and use them. You can’t beat intelligence gathering from a trip but after 2 weeks on the road, multiple cities, events, flights, jetlag etc you will forget your own name let alone that useful nugget of information someone shared with you in a hotel bar!
Get out of the hotel – See some of the local country if you can, escape the hotel bar or restaurant and explore. If you don’t have much time get a taxi to take you to a local market, local restaurant, do some sightseeing, eat what the locals eat. There is always time for some sort of excursion!
Post Event Considerations
Follow up – gather all the leads and follow up with them by email, phone, whatsapp, skype etc. Also make sure the leads get inputted into your database so that they start receiving university communications etc. Do this even before you get back home.
Visit Report – no need for a long winded day by day account, unless of course management need this level of detail. Best course of action is usually to list the opportunities, challenges and key action points. There will always be something you do better on the next trip.
Relax – overseas trips can take a lot out of you physically and mentally and its difficult to jump straight back into the office or life back at home. Take a day off when you get back, leave your phone somewhere or switch off the emails. Recharge those batteries as you will likely be going straight back to inevitable meetings, deadlines, more trip planning etc.
If you need any support in trip planning, putting together your itinerary or perhaps training staff on campus for going overseas then contact MYIO for a chat. https://www.myinternationaloffice.co.uk/consultancy