Booking Boosters for VIPKid

If you are asking the question, “How can I get more VIPKid bookings?” You are not alone. And before I give any suggestions, let me assure you that you have not done anything wrong! There are many factors that can go into VIPKid bookings, and low bookings can affect any of us: new teachers, tenured teachers, and everyone in between! But don’t worry, there are some easy things that you can do that have the potential to help bring in bookings.

First, the “big 6” booking boosters that I’ve talked about before are:

  1. Be sure you are opening your schedule for the correct weeks. (If you’re fuzzy on the frenzy timing, review my post about VIPKid Booking Schedules.
  2. Review your profile picture.
  3. Review your featured photos and intro video.
  4. Take workshops.
  5. Add certifications (especially trials!)
  6. Open short notice bookings.

You can read more about all of these in my first post about bookings, Getting Bookings with VIPKid.

If you have tried all of those without luck, there are some other options.

Send e-cards to prior students.

Remember, e-cards go to students, not their parents. With the latest update, you must use pre-formatted templates, but there are several that are relevant. There’s a “Book Me” card that includes a “Book Me” message, an “I miss you” message, a “See you soon,” message and a “Happy to see you” message. There are also some good ones under “See you in class” and “Thanks.” If you aren’t sure how to send an e-card, I have a walk-through here: How to Send an e-card with VIPKid.

Open a ticket for low bookings.

VIPKid will sometimes help teachers increase their bookings. In the support center, you can create a new ticket. There are a few different options. I would start with the first: Issue = No Booking or Issue = Low Booking. If you try this and have not had success in a week’s time, then I would open a second ticket: Issue = Teacher Voice. In either scenario, VIPKid can get your information over to Learning Partners who may be looking for a new teacher to recommend to their students. Be sure to include your teacher show name! (The one with the letters after it!)

Open your schedule further in advance.

Always be sure your schedule is open at least two weeks in advance. That is the standard window, and many parents try to rebook for two weeks out immediately following their last class. But if you can (and are sure you can teach!) then try to open a consistent schedule for at least a month in advance. If a parent is looking for a “regular” teacher who can teach their child on an ongoing basis, they will want to be sure that your schedules are compatible.

Participate in VIPKid promotional activities.

VIPKid often offers different promotions that can help get your profile in front of parents. The current activity that is in its last few weeks this August (2019) is the Teacher Showroom. It’s an opportunity to upload an additional short video. As of August 13, VIPKid said they had 4,000 entries. While this seems like a lot, 4,000 out of around 70,000 teachers is not that many. Less than 6 percent of VIPKid’s teachers participated, so if new parents are scrolling through trying to find their perfect match, you’ve just increased your odds of being seen!

Check your teacher tags.

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of this technique. (Check out VIPKid Teacher Tags to see why.) But if all else fails, you could consider updating your teacher tags. When you go through your interview and mock classes, certain “tags” are added to your profile that are visible to teachers. Parents can also add them, or you can select your own (up to six.) The general idea is that parents can see areas of specialty or personality traits to help decide if you will be a good fit for their child. There are a few things you can do with teacher tags to potentially affect your bookings.

  1. First, you can review your tags in the teacher portal or PC App under “My Info” and then “teacher tags.”
  2. Next, if you don’t have six visible, you can edit them and update them (once every thirty days.)
  3. Finally, If you feel that the tags are not representative of your personality, you can change them. No tags should really have more benefit than others; however, it is possible that if your tags are not aligned with your real teaching style, it could impact repeat bookings.

Reach out to parents on social media.

If you use WeChat or Weibo, you can post something for parents to see. Be sure that it translates well to Chinese and that it’s respectful. I have even seen teachers post about specific days: “I have several classes available on Friday! What students will I see?” You could gently suggest that parents consider recommending you to their friends.

There is no “one right way” to get bookings with VIPKid, but I hope you have found these suggestions helpful.

Have you tried any of these techniques? Let me know how they worked in the comments!

And of course, if you are a new teacher I would be happy to help. You can get started right away with the VIPKid application and I will be happy to answer any questions I can. Happy teaching!

Getting Bookings with VIPKid

The more students who CAN book you, the more students WILL book you!

So you’ve made it! You’ve been hired as a teacher with VIPKid. Now all that remains is getting booked!

In 2018, VIPKid reported having 60,000 teachers and 500,000 students. By all reports I’ve heard, that number keeps growing! But with so many teachers to choose from, getting booked is not always immediate!

If you are thinking about applying with VIPKid, I always suggest starting as soon as possible because it WILL take time to build up your student base.  Below are the most common suggestions to help make that happen as quickly as possible.

First of all, be sure you have opened up the correct weeks! Most parents book two weeks in advance, so if you aren’t sure, check out VIPKid Booking Schedules.

Then…

Review your profile picture.

VIPKid will send you instructions for your profile picture.  They suggest that it be clear and in a professional style. If that’s not working to get you bookings, then try something else! Parents will be scrolling through hundreds of profile pictures, and that will be the first thing that catches their eye. Make sure:

  • You take up most of the frame. The background (even if it’s your amazing classroom) isn’t what the parents are interested in. They are interested in you!
  • Make sure it is well lit. Avoid shadows on your face.
  • Smile. Kids will want a fun teacher who smiles authentically and a lot.
  • Think about the colors that you are using. If you are wearing neutral colors, try something more colorful. If you are wearing patterns, try a solid color.
  • Consider adding something to make you stand out. While the main focus of the picture is you, you can add something to make you different. Maybe you’re holding a prop or a pet. Maybe you are in an active teaching pose. Find something that will catch a parent’s eye.

Review your featured photos and intro video.

Many of the same guidelines as above will apply, but you do have a little more flexibility to make these fun and personal! I have three important pieces of feedback here.

  • Make a video and use pictures that are fun for you! They don’t have to be the type of things that will go viral. We aren’t all you tube stars! Just have fun with them, and that will shine through!
  • Take one of the VIPKid workshops about “marketing yourself.” These are led by veteran VIPKid teachers and mentors, and they can give you great feedback on how to spruce up your profile to appeal to parents.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try again! You aren’t committing to use the same pictures and videos forever! If you aren’t getting bookings, try something else!

Take workshops.

VIPKid offers a robust list of workshops like the one I mentioned above. There is a workshop for anything you might need help with!

As a new teacher, the very first one you should sign up for is the New Teacher Kickoff Workshop. It is usually the first one linked under the “Library–>Workshop Schedule” menu in the teacher portal.

new teacher kickoff

That will be a great introductory session and they will introduce a roadmap of other helpful workshops to help you get your feet wet.

Teachers also often speculate that learning partners get lists of teachers who attend workshops and might be more inclined to recommend them. I can’t confirm or deny this, but it certainly can’t hurt to take them!

Another good workshop that’s targeted specifically to getting bookings is called “Marketing Yourself.” This is offered several times per month and you can get live tips from the pros.

Add Certifications

You saw above the massive number of students reported by VIPKid in 2018, and these numbers are growing by the day! It makes sense that the more students you are qualified to teach, the more bookings you can get.

Depending on when you were hired, you may have one or two certifications already.  With the 2019 VIPKid Application and Interview Process (Updated March 2019) most new teachers will be certified to teach either “lower level” (Interactive Level 2 + Level 3) or “upper level” (Levels 4 and 5.) When I was hired, 60% of students were in level 2, and shortly thereafter they began being converted to Interactive Level 2. So if you started with the upper levels, a great way to get added potential students is by certifying for the lower level classes.

Trial Classes are another great way to increase your bookings. Many times, parents sign up for trial classes at the last minute, so more tenured teachers are less likely to be available. As an added bonus, trial students can often turn into regulars!

If you meet the requirements, Level 1 is growing by leaps and bounds, so if you have taught the minimum number of classes and there are vacancies available, this would be  a good option.

The more students who CAN book you, the more students WILL book you!

Open Short Notice Bookings.

I know this is scary, especially for new VIPKid teachers. But if you are a parent, you know how hectic life can get. Often, parents need to schedule last minute classes because that’s when their kiddo is available. When this happens, their regular teacher may not be available, so they will be more likely to give a new teacher a try. (Plus, lots of trials are booked as short notice too!) Don’t be afraid of short notice. My very first student was short notice, and she is now my most regular. If you’re still nervous, check out VIPKid Short Notice 24-hour Bookings for more information.

Don’t give up!

This is the most important advice I have. No two teachers alike, and everyone has a different experience. For some teachers, it takes days to get bookings. For others it takes months. If you try something and it doesn’t work, then don’t be afraid to try something else.  Ask your mentor for help. They can help review your information or perhaps even recommend you to others if they have a good parent network!

If you’ve tried all of these tips, check out these additional booking booster ideas!

The students will come, and by following the tips above, you’ll be ready to support them in the very best way possible.  If you have tips of your own, or questions about anything you’ve read here today, let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

 

VIPKid and Daylight Saving Time (Fall Back/Return to Daylight Standard Time.)

I was concerned – what happens to my schedule since China doesn’t observe daylight saving time?

In 2019, the return to Daylight Standard Time (falling back) falls on Sunday, November 3rd. As a VIPKid teacher, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this day since I’m not naturally much of a morning person. Now, those 6 am classes will FEEL like 7 am classes, and I’m so excited!

Last year this time was my first time change with VIPKid, so I was concerned – what happens to my schedule since China doesn’t observe daylight saving time? In short, nothing happened.

VIPKid takes into account the change in US time zones prior to opening bookings. So if I had a 6:30 am class booked last night when I went to sleep, this morning, it was still booked at 6:30 am; the only difference was that it was light outside! I did notice that the time slots immediately before the change were labeled in the Teacher App with a “DST” label, so if you teach overnight, you’ll see a 1:00 am DST, 1:30 am DST, 1:00 am, and 1:30 am times available for booking. It’s like you have a time-turner! But for me, I teach later in the mornings, so there was really no impact.

What changed following the time change?

  • My bookings were a little low the week following the time change, and I assume that’s because of the shift in my availability. Last year at this time, I went from 14 classes booked  (of 15 open slots) down to 9 classes booked so far for the coming week. This didn’t last, though, and I was back to “normal” very quickly.
  • Some of the students that had expressed an interest in times that I typically don’t open were now able to book classes with me.
  • I have began getting some priority booking requests for early time slots that I would not normally open.

So what did I do differently?

  • Last year, I opened up more (and earlier) time slots! For me, this is a great opportunity to stay on the same physical schedule but get more bookings! I work full time from my home, and I start work at 8:00 am sharp. Because of this, I generally open up only 6:00, 6:30, and 7:00.  My logic last year was that I could begin teaching at 5:00 and it would still FEEL like 6:00. However, I would caution you against this. This ONLY works if you continue to go to bed on your pre- time change schedule. I did not, and I quickly got worn down, tired, and sick.
  • I did let some of my regulars  know about the time change and asked them to let me know if they are looking for different times available to book.
  • This time last year, I added my Level 4 certification. This year, I went on to add Level 5 and Free Talk. I assume kids in China are much like kids here – the older they are, the later they can stay up.
  • I enjoyed having a little extra daylight during class time!

What will happen with the new Ministry of Education requirements?

Effective November 1, Chinese students will not be able to take classes after 9:00 pm China Standard Time.  You can read more about the regulations in the VIPKid Support Center. So for me, in central time, I will have to adjust my schedule to maintain the same number of classes. I normally teach my last class at 7:00 central time, which before November 1, is 8:00 pm China Standard Time. After November 1, 7:00 central time will be 9:00 pm China Standard Time, and in theory, unavailable for booking.  (Though at this time, the times still show as available in the teacher portal.) Speculation is that trials can still be booked after 9 pm China Standard Time, and students who do not live in China could still book those times. I will update this post if anything changes, but 2019 will definitely be a unique year for this reason.

I hope this helped answer any questions you had about how the return to Daylight Standard Time affects VIPKid class bookings.   If you have other questions, please ask me in the comments below! If you are looking for a mentor to help you get started, please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have!

accurate alarm alarm clock analogue
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A PPT by Any Other Name…VIPKid Time Slot Naming

When I was a brand new VIPKid teacher, I thought that “PPT” slots were any time slots. I (mistakenly) assumed that PPT stood for “PowerPoint” since we use PowerPoint slides in our teaching curriculum. So, what are they? What times should you open?

What is a time slot?

A time slot is simply a 25-minute time that you are available to teach. Parents can “reserve” time with you and schedule classes once you have opened time slots.

What is a Peak time slot?

Peak Time slots are highly popular booking times. They are labeled as “Peak” in your Teacher App or PC app, and you have a higher chance of getting booked by opening these times. These are typically early mornings and weekends.

What is a PPT time slot?

A PPT time slot is a Peak Peak time slot. These are the very hottest booking times. These are the ones in which you are most likely to get booked, and these are the ones for which VIPKid often offers incentives. Watch for offers for bonuses for opening up extra PPT slots!

When are the Peak/PPT time slots?

I’m sure it’s possible that the desirability of time slots changes over time; however, at the time I’m writing this in Central Standard Time, weekday (Monday through Thursday) “peak” time slots are 4:00 am, 4:30 am, 7:00 am, and 7:30 am. The PPT time slots are 5:00 am – 6:30 am. Friday is the same, but offers peak time slots between 7:00 pm and 11:30 pm as well. Saturday is ripe for booking all day long with every time slot between 12:00 am and 11:30 pm (except 6:30 pm) set as either peak or PPT (5:30 am – 6:30 am.) Sunday offers peak times from 12:00 am – 4:30 am, PPT from 5:00 am – 6:30 am, and peak again from 7:00 am and 7:30 am.

What time slots should you open?

When you first start as a VIPKid teacher, it’s important to open as many time slots as possible; however, I personally only opened time slots during the period in which I’m willing to teach long term. Yes, I could have opened weekend and evening slots; however, I would hate to build a relationship with a student who takes lessons on the weekend and then suddenly I’m no longer available to teach them.

Also, it’s important that you make time to rest. As you are trying to get your first classes booked or build up your student base, it’s tempting to try to push through as many classes as possible. While experience is good, it’s important that you also give your students your best, and if you haven’t slept properly, you won’t be able to do that. You also need to ensure you allow time to complete your feedback in a timely manner. Not only is this extremely important to parent satisfaction (and 5-apple ratings!) but if you don’t submit your class feedback in time, it can affect your pay!

The general rule holds true, though. The more time slots you have open (especially those that are peak or PPT), the more bookings you should receive.

If you have any other questions, please ask in the comments or by contacting me. If I can help you as a mentor, please consider using my referral link to get started!

book business calendar close up
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