The University of Manchester:
maximising open day conversion

How we helped The University improve their open day conversion.

Our research shows that open days are one of the most persuasive 'moments' that universities have at their disposal to influence student choice.

Improving them - even by a small percentage - can have a significant impact on annual revenue.

The University of Manchester is one of the UK’s largest single site institutions. Each year over 25,000 prospective undergraduates attend their main open days.

The Challenge

Manchester needed robust evidence to inform their open day strategy and maximise event impact and conversion.

Key questions that the University had were: what do prospective students need and expect from an open day? How do Manchester’s events live up to those expectations? Are competitors doing better? If so, who are the best providers and what are they offering (that Manchester isn’t)?

Our approach

To answer these and more questions, Manchester subscribed to YouthSight’s Open Day Success tracker. Open Day Success is part of our Higher Education Success Suite – tracking tools that provide powerful consumer insight via online dashboards and on-site workshops.

For Manchester, the project started with a workshop which was tailored around their key challenges. It brought together key stakeholders from across the University – from events teams to department leaders - to uncover areas of weakness in the university’s events, assess against prospective student expectations and offer ways to improve them. After the session the University’s insight and recruitment teams regularly accessed their online dashboard to use as a source of evidence to inform and validate strategic change.

The outcome

Open Day Success helped Manchester change the way open days were organised. It challenged conventional thinking and provided a blueprint for improvements, uncovering areas of weakness not previously considered or assessed by the University’s internal surveys, including providing robust evidence to help encourage academic schools to increasingly personalise talks and tours on the day, making these more interactive and better aligned to prospective students’ needs.

So, have the improvements lifted open day satisfaction and boosted sense of ‘belonging’ (the key driver of conversion)? Our latest Open Day Success data indicates the answer is yes, and yes.

This case study was originally conducted by YouthSight, acquired by Savanta in May 2021.

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