- To benchmark competitors' open days and visits content to see how we compare.
- To make changes to our 'Ways to experience the University' topic page using the conclusions drawn from our research.
Do they have a landing page/ web section for the whole subject, or different pages in different sections of their websites?
Do they have events pages?
What sort of supporting information do they include - travel/ accommodation/ virtual/ level of study etc.
Any other things that we notice that we may not have covered on our site.
The Russell Group Universities
(all of these pay for advertising in search engines)
|University||URL||Main page type||Page title||Events pages Y/N||Supporting information||Additional comments||Virtual stuff||Chat bots||Travel incentives||City / holiday info||Open day app|
|University of Bath||https://www.bath.ac.uk/campaigns/ways-to-experience-the-university/||Campaign||Ways to experience the University||No||Travel info at the bottom of open day page||Top level page is hard to find - you go to courses, UG and then all the way to the bottom. We need to make this easier to find as I didn't take this many steps to get to visit info on other uni sites. Other info such as accessibility is hard to find as we don't have h1s for this info||PGT virtual open day||No||No (Yes but not linked to)||Not linked to||No (Yes but we don't mention it)|
|University of Bristol||https://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/visits/||Landing page with links to applicant days, tours, off campus events, open days, international visits and virtual events||Open days and visits||No||Open day page links to 'how to get here' which links out to maps, travel and accessibility content||Landing page covers info for lots of different users - seems to be in a strange order - applicant days first and PGT open days hidden at the bottom. This may be because they are further in the future. Self-guided tour is an app with students talking||UG and international virtual open days||No||Yes, but only for care leavers to get to open day||Explore our city page linked from open days page||No|
|University of Cambridge||https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/events||Text-heavy page with links to different open days and 'masterclasses'||Open Days and Events||Yes||LInk to 'getting here' in related links nav, which then links to accessibility info and a map||This page covers all info for experiencing the the uni, including widening participation events for teachers & school children, specific events for care leavers etc, overseas events. Interesting that it mentions you may have to pay a fee to visit campus on a non-open day!||No||No||Yes travel fund for care leavers - this content is hard to find||None linked to||No|
|Cardiff University||https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/open-days-visits||Landing page with links to open days events, planning info and other ways to visit||Open Days and visits for undergraduate study||Yes - eventbrite link||Travel info and 'plan your day' are pinned to landing page||Virtual tour is available online at all times. map is a related download link. No PGT info. Option to sign up for reminders about future open days||Virtual campus tour||No||No||Yes linked in side nav||Yes, CU open day|
|Durham University||https://www.dur.ac.uk/international/visit-us/||Visit us page links to tours, open days and campus tours - not an obvious landing page||Visit us||No||There is travel info and info about open day bursaries etc but you have to click through a long way||SElf-guided info is about the whole city as the campus is sprad across Durham. There are department-specific visits but you have to contact them to book. All very UG focused content||No||Yes - talk to a student||Yes - must meet criteria||Discover Durham tours||No|
|University of Edinburgh||https://www.ed.ac.uk/visit||Landing page with links ato open days, events near you, maps, tours, museums, visitor centre, events||Visit||Yes - calendar page||Links to maps, accessibility info, transport on landing page||Can filter content by UG or PG if you want and this provides more specific info about each event. PGT is also virtual events like Bath.||Online info sessions||No||No||The city page linked in pinned item||No|
|University of Exeter||https://www.exeter.ac.uk/undergraduate/visit/||Separate open days landing page for UG, PGT, PGR and Teacher Training||Open Days and visiting||No||None||Very little info about UG open days, you choose which campus to visit and then get sent in a loop. Only CTA currently is to sign up for alerts, so may be that they update the page closer to open day (May/Sept)||Online virtual tours||No||No||No||No|
|University of Glasgow||https://www.gla.ac.uk/explore/visit/||Landing page with links for UG and PG, campus tours, attractions and transport info||Visit us||Yes, for each event||Nav section linkks to maps, transport, accessibility, where to stay||Really easy to navigate - splitting by UG, PG, and other helps to take me on straightforward user journey||Campus tour video led by students and virtual UG and PG events||No||No||City of Glasgow page in bottom nav (small)||Yes after registering|
|Imperial College London||https://www.imperial.ac.uk/visit/||Landing page with links to open days, campus event bookings, facilities and other visit options||Visit||Yes, including for lectures etc||Campus locatins and maps in top nav||Simple layout, includes links to wider things like school visits and current student stories. Booking an event sounds like booking a venue but is actually about campus tours and department visits - so not a good title for this||Webinars||No||no||Explore the local area page linked||No|
|King's College London||https://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/visit||Landing page with links to open days, PGT evenings, taster days, walks, campus info, tours, lifestyle info and events||Visit Kings||Yes||Plan your journey and accommodatin linked to from open days pages, so later in the journey||Summary mentions VODs but I can't find a link to VODs on the page. Lots of different options to choose so content is slightly hard to follow. Links to 'explore king's' which is more about student living and London in general||No||Yes talk to a student||No||No||Yes, later on|
|University of Leeds||https://www.leeds.ac.uk/info/116000/undergraduate/42/visit_us||Text-heaving page with links to campus tours, open days, independent visits and applicant visits||Visit us||Yes||Links to 'find us' page with transport info, can't find accessibility info||You have to choose UG or PG first, then you can click through to the visit us page. YOu then choose how you want to visit which takes you to another page - difficult to choose the best option if you can't see them all at the same time||No||No||No||No||No|
|University of Liverpool||https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/study/||No landing page but links to visit us content on 'study' page||"Study with Liverpool h2 Visit us"||No, just sign up info||Side nav links to getting here and accessibility||Their VOD is a click-through digital map thing where you find out about departments as if you were walking around campus. There;s no interaction with people though.||VOD click through map||No||Just a 10% car park discount||Welcome to Liverpool page in side nav||No|
|London School of Economics & Political Science||http://www.lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/meet-visit-and-discover-LSE||Landing page with links to visit, meet and experience from home||Discover LSE||No||Links out to map and accessibility info||The 'meet' content is similar to some of the 'visit' content, so it wasn't initially clear where open days would be - it's under both. 'Meet' content is a list of events, 'Visit' content is much broader - similar to our topic page||Video campus tour, webinars, open days podcasts||No||LSE travel fund for rail or coach travel linked to from visit page||No||No|
|University of Manchester||https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/open-days-visits/||Landing page with links to open days, international events and other ways to visit||University open days||No||Links out to travel, plan your day and city info||It was difficult to find this page - had to go through open days (later in journey) and click back along the page tree||Live webinars,||No||No||Manchester city page linked to from plan your open day page||Yes|
|Newcastle University||https://www.ncl.ac.uk/study/meet/||Landing page with links to pgt open day, sign up for ug open day and travel info. Events calendar on landign page||Meet us||Yes||" Getting Here page covers travel, transport and map"||I like the personal tone with 'meet us' and 'join us'. Content lower on page is separated by UG, PG, schools and applicant events||No||Yes||No||None linked to||No|
|University of Nottingham||https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/Visit/index.aspx||Landing page with links to each campus page and events, including different open days and other uni events||Visit||No, just sign up info||Each campus has a page about transport, maps, parking, route planner,||The emphasis seems to be on the capus info more than the events - may be this is moved around when the open days are closer? Doesn't use persuasive language like 'come to an open day'||Virtual tour||Yes||No||Links to external site 'visit nottinghamshire'||No|
|University of Oxford||https://www.ox.ac.uk/visitors?wssl=1||Landing page about broader Oxford city and each college. Content for prospective students is small link at the bottom||Visitors||No||Open day page links to travel advice and planning your visit||Top level visit page is aimed at non-students - possibly due to tourist interest in Oxford? Lots of different department open days which ahve their own dates and schedules||A video of the Oxford rooftops as a feature at the top of the page. A link on the side nav to Google views of Oxford.||No||No||Yes, a link to Visiting Oxford in the side nav||No|
|Queen Mary, University of London||https://www.qmul.ac.uk/undergraduate/openday/||Landing page for open days links to registration and other options for campus visits||Open days||No, just sign up info||Links out to travel and plan your day||Very simple landing page. It seems that you have to go to an open day or an arranged tour - there isn't anything about self-guided tours||Yes, a virtual open day||No, you have the option to use a chatbot but you have to find a link to it in the 'Can't make it' page||No||No||Yes, QMUL|
|Queen's University Belfast||https://www.qub.ac.uk/about/Visit-Us/||Landing page covering all areas of visitation||Visit us||Yes||Featured link at the bottom of the page to 'Make a weekend of it' and explore Belfast and Northern Ireland. Clever idea to turn visiting an Open Day into part of a wider holiday.||Page is clear, attractive and easy to navigate with four main links on the page and a nav section on the header. There's a balance between different ways to experience the Uni, and you won't find Open Days until you click into the 'Undergraduate events', five events down.||Yes, a virtual tour||No||No, although the 'Getting here' page gives you information about the Ylink card for 16-23 year olds||Yes, a 'Make a weekend of it' page accessible from the top nav||No|
|University of Sheffield||https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/visit-us||Simple Landing page covering all areas of visiting with dropdown menu at the header and simple and effective photo links.||Visit||No, just a link to a mailing list.||There's a section dedicated to students returning to education, with inmformation about free taster events and a Discover Course. This is from a department called Lifelong Learning. There's also a section for EU students to book a visit.||Some ways of visiting seem to get lost, for example Taster days appear after you click the link to Undrgraduate Open Days.||Yes, a video tour||No||Access Travel Bursary for those who meet eligibility||PDF of a self-guided city tour from the Plan Your Visit page||No|
|University of Southampton||https://www.southampton.ac.uk/about/visit/open-days.page#_ga=2.149308917.2140376798.1580912142-1956057862.1580912142||Open Day focused Landing page with a lot of links and dropdowns.||University Open Days||No, just a link to register interest.||The have a Chatbot pop-up called Botty McBotface.||This page feels too crowded. A mix of links, dropdowns and sections feels confusing, and hard to find the information you need. There are seperate Landing pages for 'Getting to our campuses', 'Postgraduate Open Days' and Postgraduate visits'. The bottom of the PG and UG Landing pages have additional links about Campus Tours and visiting the Uni.||Yes, a virtual Open Day||Yes - Botty McBotface||Free Unilink shuttle running from train stations and Westquay||No||Yes, MySouthampton|
|University College London||https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/open-days/||Very simple but striking Landing page with four main links||UCL Open Days||No, just generic pages and a link to pre-register interest||The simple links and striking photos make this page straighforward and attractive. They have Graduate Open Days.||A simple Landing page with four main links - UG Open Days, PG Open Days, campus tours and travelling to UCL.||There's mention of a 'virtual event' on the 'Plan your visit' page but no links found anywhere on any of the tours, visiting or open day pages||No||No||No, just a mention on the Open Day page that the campus is in the middle of London so you should make a day of it. Also a section on the 'Plan your visit' page about making the most of your visit - one paragraph||No|
|University of Warwick||https://warwick.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/visits/||Landing page with links||Visit us||No||This page is straightforward and does the job. There are clear links to all the different ways to visit the Uni, including Offer Holder Open Days and Schools.||No||No||Free shuttlebus from Coventry and Warwick Parkways stations on Open Days||No||No|
|University of York||https://www.york.ac.uk/study/visit/||Landing page with links||Visit us||No||A pop-up appears with a link to a live chat with student ambassadors.||The main sections on the page are mainly split into UG and PG events. Towards the bottom there are smaller links for teachers, campus tours, conferences and international events.||Yes, a virtual tour||Yes - chat with students||Could be eligible for a travel bursary if you're under the Contectual Offer policy for the applicant visit days||No||No|
|University of Portsmouth||https://www.port.ac.uk/study/open-days||University Open Days||No||The page presents as an Open Day page, but it has clear links to other ways to visit and experience the University. There's also a video guide to the city embedded on the page.||No||No||No||A video guide to the city||No|
|Bournemouth University||https://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/open-days||Landing page with links. Not really any text or information.||Open days||Yes||The page presents as an Open Day page, but it has links to Virtual tours, Self-guided tours, exhibitions and international events too.||Yes, a virtual tour||Yes - a live chat||30% off travel for those travelling to Open Day by National Express||No||No|
|De Monfort University||https://www.dmu.ac.uk/study/undergraduate-study/open-days/open-days.aspx||Landing page with videos, links and guide||DMU Open Days||No||De Monfort offer 50% off all rail tickets for students booked onto the Open Day.||This page posts mainly Open Day links and information, although there's a link to Online chat events and Campus tours at the bottom of the page.||No||No||Yes, 50% off rail tickets for all prospective applicants with an Open Day booking||No||No|
|Nottingham Trent University||https://www.ntu.ac.uk/study-and-courses/open-days?gclid=Cj0KCQiA7OnxBRCNARIsAIW53B84ilL96PDno_HB3Jm-U2h4KJAlufFb4YxOVlkkC-l42dyXUqJWm38aAtiuEALw_wcB||Landing page with lots of links and photos.||Open days||No||This is a main Open Day page, with a link to a seperate page called 'Other ways to meet us' which has information about UCAS events and campus tours: https://www.ntu.ac.uk/study-and-courses/open-days/other-ways-to-meet-us||Yes, a virtual tour||No||No||An 'Explore Nottingham' section on the travel page with links to Nottingham tourist websites||No|
Summary of findings:
In total, we looked at 28 UK universities.
27 had at least one top-level page dedicated to open days and visits.
University of Liverpool did not have a landing page, just a section of the overall study page linked to open day event pages.
The types of page varied.
- Top nav
- Side nav
- Content heavy
- Link only
Conclusion: The easiest to use websites were image-based without too much text, had minimal links in the main content but good navigation either at the side or at the top.
12 universities used 'Visit' / 'visitors' / 'visiting us' in their page titles.
9 used 'Open days'.
3 used both 'open days' and 'visit'.
4 used another kind of title: Bath used 'Ways to experience the University', Newcastle used 'Meet us', LSE used 'Discover LSE' and Liverpool used 'Study with Liverpool' which linked out to open days pages.
People are probably more likely to use search terms like 'visit' or 'visiting' which will help them find these pages. 'Open days' is a widely-used term by universities so most users will know what to expect from a page with this title.
This suggests that we could use a more specific title with language prospective students use to help them find and understand the page.
20 landing pages have direct links to transport, maps and accessibility information.
Finding travel information is a common next step for users after registering for an open day or deciding if they can make it. We could improve our page by moving the travel info for Bath higher on the page.
9 universities had pages for the events they were hosting (e.g. open days, bookable tours) rather than just booking forms or broader pages with other content.
19 universities did not have clear separate event pages.
Our open days generally run on the same format each season, so the bulk of the event information will be easiest to find on the campaign pages, with separate booking forms to choose the date to attend. Individual event pages may not be necessary.
Filter content by study level e.g. UG/PGT etc
6 universities make you choose your level of study before showing you how to visit. This means you only see events relevant to you.
Not many universities use this method but we found that it is an effective way to organise content. As our open days are so different for UG and PGT, it makes sense to only show them the events they can attend. This will avoid confusion and make navigation smoother as for example, PGT students won't try to come to a UG open day.
Extra incentives and features
Chat bots - 7 universities
Conclusion: Not many universities use these and they don't seem to provide trustworthy information.
Travel bursaries for visitors - 11 universities
Conclusion: We provide a bursary for disadvantaged students so we should make this clear on the page unless there is a reason not to make this more widely known. It could be a good incentive for prospective students and makes us look inclusive.
City info / holiday planner - 14 universities
Conclusion: Half of universities directly link to city or holiday information - this may be down to whether there is anything touristy to do there. As we are in a World Heritage destination, we could do more to include this information as it makes the open day trip seem more worthwhile and people can get to know the city.
Virtual campus tours / open days / maps - 20 universities
Conclusion: We already talk about PGT virtual open days, but we could also link to Matterport virtual tours to show users what the campus is like.
Open day app - 5 universities
Conclusion: We could talk about our app as it is a good way to organise your day and might make it easier for some people to visit and book talks. It also shows we are up to date with our audience's needs.
Pages that were easiest to find were either linked in the homepage nav (or top level student page nav) or had logical search terms in the title, such as 'visit' or 'open days'. Our page was one of the hardest to find as there is no direct link to it in the navigation and the title is vague and broad. It doesn't use any search terms that we would expect prospective students to use. This may put users off if they struggle to find the information they are looking for quickly.
Visits/open days top-level pages that were easiest to use were those with direct links to the main tasks e.g. booking open day, travel info and other experience options. We should divide the content by UG and PG and only use links that users need so they are not overwhelmed with options. Websites that worked best were those that showed the journey we had taken so we could find our way back to previous pages without missing anything.