Practical advice on recruiting students in Thailand is at the heart of the latest market report from English UK and the British Council.
Concluding the report, author Hannah Alexander-Wright says: "The Thai market is rated as the seventeenth-largest nationality in terms of annual student weeks for English UK member institutions, and there is potential for growth.
"With the government pushing the internationalisation of their universities, the need for English language will only increase. Institutions can confidently secure a share of this through their understanding of the market conditions detailed in this report and by adopting the recommended tactics."
Launching her report at the English UK Marketing Conference, Hannah advised that "a 25-minute walk" between homestay and classroom would mean something very different to a Thai student. "You need to be careful with the message; a 25-minute walk in Bangkok heat is very different to doing it in the UK. They do like public transport though," she said.
Hannah, who compiled the report with the help of students studying in the UK as well as agents and educators in Thailand, said it was important to remember that students researched their overseas education, parents made the final decision, and agents acted as mediators.
"You need to do different things for different audiences. Agents want relationships, responsiveness, discount and commissions. Students want digital stuff, parents to know it's an academic institution and about safety and pastoral care. Some schools are very good at some things but you need to tick the three boxes," she said.
She added that Thai YouTubers are really influential and worth checking out, and that when visiting agents it's a good idea to do so in the rainy season, and look at what is being organised by the British Council and Tieca, the national agent association.
- Price and safety are the top considerations for students - and they often have an inflated idea of costs of studying in the UK.
- The visa process is the most common barrier to studying in the UK.
- Students often research an institution or destination and then present this information to their parents. Consider this when creating content and ask your Thai students to write recommendations on Thai youth community websites.
- Thai students search for information about institutions on Google, YouTube and Pantip.
- Agents are highly trusted and often take the role of mediator between students and parents. Ensuring that the agent understands your offer, and answering their questions quickly, could help them persuade a parent to choose your institution.
- Use the chat app 'Line' to communicate with Thai agents.
- 88% of agents want a physical brochure from educators.
- Make the most of any possible London or Harry Potter connections.
English UK reports and publications
English UK regularly produces and shares reports, briefings and guidance to help your English language centre succeed.
Find recent market reports on Thailand, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Mexico, annual student statistics, 2016's economic impact report and infographic as well as the executive summaries from QUIC 2017, our quarterly statistics initiative. Most of these are a member benefit and require a member log in.
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