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Thuy Rees
Pre-School Director

4 Ways to Host a Child Care Center Tour During COVID

August 31, 2021

Hands down the most effective way to enroll a family in child care is through a tour. A tour is a chance to highlight your center, answer a family’s questions, and get them signed up - all at the same time!

However, one of the recent challenges in the child care industry is the requirement to limit parents' access to the building to safeguard the health of teachers and clients and prevent disease spread in the community. This has made touring prospective families a challenge, but that doesn’t mean you should stop doing tours all together. 

Today I want to walk you through 4 tour options which will allow you to continue growing your child care centre without compromising health and safety. Keep in mind that closing the deal (signing a family up) is the goal of hosting an effective tour

Let’s explore 4 types of tours and why each one makes sense for different families in different seasons of life.

In-Person Tour During School Hours:

The first type of tour (and in my experience the best) is an in-person family tour during school hours. If you can make this work, this should be your go-to. This is where the whole family comes together to see your child care center and meet the teachers. 

This type of tour can be done during school hours, but I recommend making some adjustments to a traditional tour. If the tour is during school hours make sure you do the following:

  • Have parents wear a mask (when recommended by local public health guidelines)
  • Make sure they wash their hands before they enter the facility
  • Tour the facility, but do not physically enter the rooms where classes are in session

In-person tours are the traditional way to tour a family and honestly the best option. If you can make this type of tour work for all parties I suggest doing this type first and foremost. 

After-Hours Tour:

Depending on the comfort level of your teachers, preferences of families, or scheduling availability, an after hours tour is also a great option. During this tour, invite the whole family. Ask a few staff members to stay around as well to meet the parents, but give them as much notice as possible so it doesn’t catch them by surprise. Parents may not be able to tour during school hours but they are always interested in meeting teachers! 

The benefit of this type of tour is that parents are welcome to go inside each classroom and you don’t have to worry about compromising the comfort and safety of staff or students by interrupting a class in session. 

The con to this type of tour is that a family won't see your center in “full swing”. There is something parents love about seeing classrooms doing circle time or an art activity and imagining their child as part of the class, but with an after hours tour they will miss this. 

One way to get around this issue is to show them what the classroom looks like during the day. If you have recent photos or videos to share with them that can be a great addition to an after hours tour, or even a tour during school hours. Just make sure you have proper permissions for sharing media including a comprehensive privacy policy to protect yourself and safeguard the confidentiality of your staff and students. 

LIVE Virtual Tour: 

Hosting a Live virtual tour over Facetime, Zoom, or Google Meet is also a  great way to show a family around your center. The nice thing about this type of tour is that you can take the family around during school hours, they can meet the teacher, they can see the children during class, and they can ask any questions they may have - all while preventing any health and safety concerns. 

A few tips for a LIVE virtual tour:

  • Always send the family a calendar invite with a reminder. Families are busy and it’s easy to forget about a virtual tour. 
  • Consider purchasing a handheld ring light for your live tour. Since this will be your first impression you’ll want good lighting as you virtually walk them through your centre. A hand held right light is a great option and can be found on Amazon for as little as ten dollars.
  • Send the family tour instructions ahead of time. For example, have a quick way to join the meeting such as an emailed link, especially if the family hasn’t done it before. 

A LIVE virtual tour is a great option which could even be preferred by busy parents who are working fulltime and unable to drive down to the center during the day but have access to technology at home or work.

Recorded Virtual Tour:

The last option for hosting a tour would be a recorded tour of your facility. If you go this route, I highly recommend spending some money and hiring someone to do the video. A recorded tour is not something I recommend doing yourself - if you want to save money, approach someone who is newer or still in school for videography but has an impressive portfolio. 

This option is not only a great addition to your website but can be used as part of your child care marketing strategy to bring in new families. Not only can interested families use this as their “tour” option, it also allows current clients to easily refer you to friends, and can catch the eye of prospective families searching the web as well. Make sure you invest enough time and money to create a quality video though, especially if you are posting it to the web*, as a home-made style low quality video may actually detract from the professional credibility of your center. 

*Please remember if you have any staff or children in the recorded virtual tour be sure to get their signature stating you are permitted to use the film on your website before posting it. 

Final Notes:

Leading a tour is always a great way to connect with new families, but it doesn’t have to look the way it has in the past. Whether you opt for in-person tours during or after school hours, virtual live tours, recorded virtual tours, or a mixture of them, I hope this blog gives you some ideas for how to carry out different touring options depending on the comfort level and personal preferences of you, your childcare staff, and your prospective families.

A tour is such a powerful way to grow your child care business. If you are committed to growth you need to make childcare tours a priority and be flexible and accommodating to address some of the challenges of in-person touring that come from busy schedules and current health and safety concerns. Once you’ve upped your tour game, be sure to have a social media presence where interested parties can contact you, and include links to a comprehensive and easy to use childcare software to keep communication channels open and manage enrollment and payment. 

Try one of these tour types this month and let me know how it went!

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