Study travel decision-makers from 40 countries met in the French city of Rouen last weekend for a landmark IALC Workshop. #IALC2015 Rouen welcomed a record 375 delegates and unveiled the first IALC Industry Research Report on the Perception of Independent Schools and Boutique Chains in Language Travel. It was also the first major study travel workshop located in a smaller city – the type of destination often chosen by students in search of a unique cultural experience.
Key findings from the IALC Industry Research Report were presented in a seminar led by Jan Capper, IALC executive director, and Samuel Vetrak, CEO of market research company StudentMarketing.
StudentMarketing surveyed over 472 language travel agents and drew on 200 sources of secondary research to produce a unique report on the language travel market and the perception of independent language schools and boutique chains within it. The results are encouraging for IALC schools: independents enjoy almost twice as large a share in agent portfolios as chain schools and account for 64% of agents' customers. They also outperform chain schools in the majority of factors measured, being most valued for easier access to senior management, greater ability to adjust the offer, friendlier approach and higher customer satisfaction. Asked about future demand, agents report a slightly better outlook for independent schools and boutique chains.
“The good news from this ground-breaking research is that the market for language study abroad is still growing, and high-quality independents and boutique chains have a strong future in that market,” Capper said after the seminar.
The research was sponsored by Guard.me, StudyPay and English Australia and is now available for download.
All seminars were carefully chosen to help schools and agents to track industry trends and find student recruitment solutions together. Class by Infospeed, Easymate and Intrinsiq went head to head in a school management software showcase. Study travel leaders debated the future of the language travel industry in IALC's 2nd IALC Industry Panel Debate. Jeanette Kramer, Latitude International Education, offered insights on social media strategy. Rob Jansen, StudyPortals, discussed online marketing and student recruitment solutions. Frederique Di Tullio, Lyon Bleu International, and Anja Denysiuk, alpha.b Institut Linguistique, talked about selling French in France.
Delegates travelled to the annual IALC International Agent Workshop from 145 agencies in 32 countries and from 90 IALC member organisations representing 136 accredited year-round language centres in 22 countries. IALC’s position as a leading network of independent and mainly owner-operated language centres ensured the Workshop attracted predominantly owners and senior decision-makers from agencies as well.
“Agents I met were first-rate, motivated and ready to do business. It was the best workshop we've attended in years - and we attend many!” Marco Pinna, President of TLA - The Language Academy
“Nowhere else do you get such a consistently high standard of schools under one roof. We were able to meet with all our partners both formally and informally, as well as begin new school relationships, “Denis Baker Director, Aventure Linguistique SA, Switzerland.
IALC came to Rouen in 2015 thanks to the passion of Eleri Maitland, director of host school French in Normandy, who with her husband Tom in 2013 convinced 84 fellow IALC members to trust her adopted city with their international event. For while the capital of Normandy is easily accessible from Paris and attracted over 300,000 visitors in 2014, no central hotel can take 350-400 delegates.
Fast forward to 2015. Staying in seven different hotels, delegates enjoyed a first-hand student experience as they walked in the Spring sunshine to the various meeting and evening venues donated by the municipality and regional council. BTS Tourism students from the Lycee Camille Saint Saens showed the way through the winding cobbled streets of awesome medieval buildings, trendy boutiques, art galleries, cosy cafes and stylish restaurants.
Representing the people of Rouen and Upper Normandy during the three-day workshop were:
Mr Nicolas Mayer Rossignol, Président du Conseil Régional, who spoke at the Cocktail lunch offered by the Conseil Régional after the members’ AGM on 23 April.
Ms Valérie Fourneyron, Former Minister of Youth and Sports and Former Mayor of Rouen, who opened IALC Rouen at the Welcome Reception in the Musée des Beaux Arts on 23 April.
Mr Yvon Robert, Maire de Rouen, who addressed delegates at a private Cocktail Reception in the Hôtel de Ville de Rouen on 24 April.
Speaking after the Workshop, Eleri Maitland at FiN summed up why it was so important to hold IALC in Rouen: “Until you’ve been to the city, you can’t appreciate its potential. It’s one of France’s best kept secrets!”
DPMC International sponsored the Member's Dinner at La Couronne and the after party at l'Euro Bar, StudyPay sponsored the Welcome Reception in the Musee des Beaux Arts, and Guard.me sponsored the IALC Gala Dinner which whas held at the Conseil General de Rouen. ACET sponsored the Workshop notepad on the occasion of their 40th anniversary.
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