How to Host an Amazing Virtual Open House for Your School

minute read
April 5, 2023

If you’ve worked in a school district the past few years, you understand how much the pandemic has impacted schools . While many facets of school life have returned to “normal”, some things will be forever changed.

One effect the pandemic has had on schools is the rapid adoption of technology in the classroom . While some schools have lagged behind in terms of technology utilization, COVID-19 forced many to adopt present-day tools.

In-person open houses are one avenue of the school enrollment process that shifted to a virtual format. While many schools have returned to in-preson open houses, many still see the benefits of offering virtual open houses to prospective students and families.

And, while there’s no replacing an in-person tour of your campus, virtual events like these can expand your reach and allow more students to visit than would have previously. Read on to find out how you can plan the perfect virtual open house for your school.

What Is a Virtual Open House?

A virtual open house is an online event that allows prospective students and families to learn about your school's academic programs, campus facilities, and community from the comfort of their homes. This event typically features live or pre-recorded presentations, Q&A sessions, and virtual campus tours.

virtual open house for your school

What Are the Benefits of a Virtual Open House?

The virtual open house offers a more flexible experience. While driving long distances might prevent some families from visiting in person, the virtual experience creates a way for more prospects to check out your school. Families can now get all of the information they need about your school from their homes, while being able to put a face to the name .

Some other benefits to virtual open houses include:

  • Accessibility: Virtual open houses allow attendees from all over the world to participate without the need for travel.
  • Cost-effective: Online events can save schools money on physical space, refreshments, and printed materials.
  • Reach a wider audience: Virtual open houses can accommodate more attendees than in-person events.
  • Convenience: Prospective families can participate from anywhere and on any device.

What You’ll Need to Get Started With Your Virtual Open House

Are you interested in hosting a virtual open house for your school, but aren’t sure what you need or where to start? We have you covered. Before you dive into planning, take note of a few things you will need to make your virtual open house a success:

Video Communication Platform

You’ll want to choose a platform that has a large user base, and has a low barrier to entry for people who have never used the software before. Most importantly, you’ll want to choose a reliable, user-friendly platform for hosting your event. Here are our favorites:


Zoom is a popular video conferencing platform that allows for hosting webinars and virtual meetings, providing features such as breakout rooms, polls, and screen sharing for engaging virtual events.

Google Meet

Google Meet is a user-friendly video communication platform that integrates seamlessly with Google Workspace, enabling easy scheduling and hosting of virtual events with live captions and screen sharing capabilities. Anyone with a Google account can join a meeting.


Skype is a video and audio communication tool with features such as instant messaging and screen sharing, making it a suitable option for smaller virtual open houses or meetings.

A Registration Form

You’ll need somewhere where interested families can signup for your event. Modern software makes this incredibly easy and is cheap or free to use. Capture attendee information and manage sign-ups with a form-building tool:


Hubspot is an all-in-one inbound marketing, sales, and CRM platform that offers form building, email marketing, and lead management tools to help schools effectively promote events and manage attendee data.


Typeform is an online form builder with a unique, conversational approach to form design, allowing schools to create engaging registration forms and surveys for their virtual open house events.

Google Forms

Google Forms is a simple, free form creation tool that integrates with Google Workspace, making it easy to build and share registration forms, collect attendee information, and manage responses.

An Email Marketing Platform to contact leads

Having a parent or student fill out a form and plan for them to arrive isn’t enough. You’ll need to send reminders to make sure they remember to show up. And, if you have an email list or database of interested parties who haven’t committed, but submitted their information, you’ll want to send marketing emails to encourage them to signup and join your event.

Communicate with attendees and nurture leads using an email marketing tool like:


Mailchimp is a comprehensive email marketing platform that allows schools to create targeted email campaigns, automate follow-up communications, and track the performance of their outreach efforts for virtual open house events.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is a user-friendly email marketing tool that provides customizable email templates, list segmentation, and automation features to help schools effectively promote and manage their virtual events.


Hubspot also offers email marketing software that is easy to use and relatively cheap. If you have a Hubspot account, it makes sense to take advantage of all the features it offers.

Digital Marketing and Lead Generation Strategy

To successfully promote your virtual open house and reach your target audience, you'll need a well-planned digital marketing and lead generation strategy. This strategy should involve a combination of tactics to ensure maximum visibility and engagement. Here are some key components to consider:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Optimize your school's website and event landing page for search engines to increase organic traffic and visibility. Focus on these key SEO tactics:

  • Keyword research: Identify relevant keywords related to your event and target audience, such as "virtual open house," "online school tour," and "[your school's name] open house."
  • On-page optimization: Incorporate targeted keywords into your website’s webpages
  • User experience (UX): Ensure that your website is mobile-responsive, fast-loading, and easy to navigate.

Facebook Ads

Leverage the power of Facebook advertising to target prospective families and boost event sign-ups. Facebook offers a range of ad formats and targeting options that can help you reach your desired audience. Customize your targeting settings to fit your school, and make sure to add attractive and persuasive design assets to attract more prospects.

Google Ads

Run targeted Google Ads campaigns to reach prospective families actively searching for information related to your school or open house. Use search ads to target specific keywords, and display ads to showcase your school's visuals and branding.

Social Media Promotion

Share information about your virtual open house on your school's social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Create engaging, shareable content that encourages followers to sign up for your event. Leveraging a social media strategy will boost attendee rates.

  • Share teaser content, such as video clips or images from your campus.
  • Post regular event updates and reminders.
  • Use relevant hashtags to increase your content's visibility.

Email Marketing

Use email marketing to communicate with prospective families, promote your event, and nurture leads. Send targeted email campaigns to your existing contacts, encouraging them to register for your virtual open house.

  • Create a dedicated email series to promote your event, including event details, highlights, and registration links.
  • Send reminder emails before the event to ensure a high attendance rate.
  • Segment your email list based on factors such as location, interests, or previous engagement to send more personalized content.

By incorporating these digital marketing tactics into your lead generation strategy, you can effectively promote your virtual open house, drive sign-ups, and reach a wider audience.

What Makes a Great Virtual Open House?

When planning your virtual open house, you’ll want to make the experience as easy to navigate as possible while highlighting your school. Here are some things that make a virtual open house a great experience:

Make the Event an Easy Experience for Families

Ensure that attendees can access your event with ease and provide clear instructions for participation.

Encourage Participation

Foster engagement by inviting attendees to ask questions and interact with presenters.

Showcase Your School’s Authenticity

Provide a genuine representation of your school's culture, values, and offerings.

virtual school open house

Planning Your Virtual Open House

Should It Be Live or Pre-Recorded?

One of the key decisions when planning your virtual open house is determining whether the event should be live or pre-recorded. Both options have their pros and cons, so consider your school's needs, resources, and objectives when making this choice:

Q&A Format (Live)

A live Q&A session enables attendees to engage directly with school representatives, ask questions, and get real-time answers. This interactive format can create a sense of community and connection with prospective families.

  • Pros: Immediate interaction, increased engagement, and the opportunity to address specific concerns or questions.
  • Cons: May require more preparation and staff involvement, relies on a stable internet connection for all participants, and potential technical difficulties.

Interactive Event (Live)

An interactive event combines presentations with opportunities for attendees to participate in activities, polls, or breakout sessions. This format allows for both structured content delivery and engaging interaction.

  • Pros: Promotes engagement, encourages conversation and connection, provides a balance between content delivery and interaction.
  • Cons: Requires more planning and facilitation, relies on a stable internet connection for all participants, potential technical difficulties.

Pre-Recorded Slide Deck or Video

A pre-recorded slide deck or video presentation allows your school to deliver polished, well-crafted content to your attendees. This option offers flexibility in terms of scheduling, as it can be made available on-demand.

  • Pros: Content can be refined and polished, easier to manage logistics, available for viewing at any time, minimizes technical difficulties.
  • Cons: Limited interaction, may feel less personal or engaging, requires advance planning and content creation.

Virtual Tour of School

Offering a virtual tour of your campus is a great way to showcase your school's facilities and spaces. This tour can be either live or pre-recorded, depending on your preferences and resources.

Picking Dates and Scheduling

Choose a date and time for your virtual open house that is convenient for your target audience and allows for ample promotion. Consider the following factors when selecting a date:

  • Time of year: Schedule your event during peak enrollment periods or when prospective families are likely to be researching schools.
  • Day of the week: Choose a day that accommodates your audience's schedule, such as weekends or weekday evenings.
  • Time zone: If your school attracts international students, consider a time that is convenient for attendees in various time zones.
  • Promotion period: Allow enough time to effectively promote your event and generate interest among your target audience.

By carefully considering the format, date, and time of your virtual open house, you can create an event that best suits your school's needs and resources, ultimately providing an engaging and informative experience for prospective families.

Test Run Your Virtual Event

Conduct a test run to ensure that all technical aspects of your event are functioning smoothly and troubleshoot any issues. The last thing you want is for the big day to come and find out you overlooked something, there are technical issues, or your attendees can’t enter your event.

Host Your Event

It’s the big day. It’s time to show off your school as best you can. Execute your virtual open house, engage with attendees, and showcase the best of your school. Show them why they should join your school over their other options.

Follow Up with Attendees

Don’t forget to follow up after the open house! After your event, follow up with attendees via email to express gratitude, gather feedback, and provide additional resources or next steps.

Why You Should Host a Virtual Open House

Hosting a virtual open house can be a game-changer for your school's enrollment efforts, allowing you to reach a wider audience while providing a convenient, informative experience for prospective families.

By choosing the right tools, planning an engaging event, and ensuring a great experience for attendees, you can boost your enrollment by leveraging the digital tools at your disposal.

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