Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF

Recruiting in the Internet age

The Internet has changed everything in terms of international student recruitment. For agents, digital has represented both an opportunity and a threat, as Laurent Pasquet, managing director for the France-based agency La Route des Langues – which specialises in the junior market –notes in today’s feature interview. Those agencies that have embraced the opportunity, he says, have considered carefully how to adapt their business so that they remain a compelling resource for international students. In our first video excerpt below, Mr Pasquet explains that the key to his agency’s success today is that they work hard at figuring out how to add extra value to their clients. For example, he notes that La Route des Langues agents always offer a chaperone service for their youngest clients aged eight and nine. It costs the agency money, but Mr Pasquet says it pays off in the long term: “We will keep this client forever.” Young travellers – including students going abroad for language study – are increasingly booking their trips online. The WYSE Travel Confederation reports that as of 2007, around 50% of millennial travel bookings were made online, and most often via a desktop computer. In the association’s 2017 survey, however, respondents reported that 80% of their travel bookings were made online. The growth in online bookings underlines Mr Pasquet’s point that personalisation and adding extra value is key to competing in this changed travel marketplace. In our second video segment, Mr Pasquet speaks about the way the Internet has produced a new type of client: one who is always connected and also more demanding because digital technology has conditioned them to expect immediate results. He has even had instances in which parents have asked to track their children in real time.” He smiles, saying,

“Fortunately, up to now we have not been putting bar codes on our clients and schools are not scanning them when they arrive at the airport, but that’s what customers are expecting because they are used to following their ‘parcel’.”

Young clients’ attachment to their smartphones and cellphones has also created a real challenge for the agency’s partners (schools and host families). If students feel upset about even a minor problem, for example, “they will text message or call their parents right away.” And it has changed the dynamics of the intensive cultural and language experience that is a hallmark of the language-learning experience in France. Mr Pasquet notes that it is harder for partners to keep young students engaged in activities, and he’s even heard of instances where host families have had to turn the wifi off in their homes because students were not interacting with the family, instead shutting themselves in their rooms to Snapchat and Facebook with their friends. When considering what the Internet has offered in terms of the agency’s ability to recruit, Mr Pasquet says that it’s not about “selling,” but rather the ability to attract clients and to provide more information to them. He estimates that 20–30% of their business comes in through digital channels, a proportion in line with trends across the agency landscape, according to ICEF i-graduate Agent Barometer research. The ability to support clients with further and comprehensive information – e.g., programme information, advice about what to pack – has been a major benefit for the agency. The agency points clients to web-based resources during or after their discussion to provide the best possible orientation for students coming to study in France. For additional background, please see:

Most Recent

  • How is Indian student mobility changing in 2023? Read More
  • Move Over Google: Social media is also a search engine Read More
  • Why managing digital shock needs to be part of your student support plan Read More

Most Popular

  • Canada’s foreign enrolment grew by more than 30% in 2022 Read More
  • Measuring cost of study and cost of living across study destinations Read More
  • Recruiting in the Emirates: Big goals, world-class education, and new scholarships Read More

Because you found this article interesting

Global agent survey finds a strong growth outlook for 2024; provides new insights on agency operations Findings from the latest instalment of ICEF’s Agent Voice survey indicate that agents are referring international students to...
Read more
ICEF announces new agent code of conduct The following article is adapted from the upcoming edition of ICEF Insights magazine. The print edition will be...
Read more
Australia: Parliamentary report recommends diversification and expanded regulation of agents A much-anticipated parliamentary report detailing the results of an inquiry into Australia’s tourism and international education sectors has...
Read more
Education agents the primary channel for K-12 recruitment in China A newly released survey from the UK-based Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) finds that agents now play an even...
Read more
Australia expands regulatory oversight of education agents and announces new integrity measures for VET Earlier this year, the Australian government commissioned former Victorian police commissioner Christine Nixon to conduct a “rapid review...
Read more
Education New Zealand shuts down its recognised agency programme Education New Zealand has announced that it is closing down the Education New Zealand Recognised Agency (ENZRA) programme,...
Read more
ICEF Podcast: Tackling the sub-agent dilemma and the pros and cons of aggregated recruitment In this episode, ICEF’s Craig Riggs and Martijn van de Veen discuss the latest developments in our sector,...
Read more
Nearly two-thirds of US colleges now working with agents A 2016 survey of US colleges and universities found that about four in ten (37%) were working with...
Read more
What are you looking for?
Quick Links