began its journey
in China before
initially in India
from China, India and southeast Asia, and the post-study
work rights news will help (rolling out in 2021).
Simon Dickinson, head of sales at Campus Living Vil-lages,
notes that students from China make up the highest
proportion of its international resident base, “over 30 per
cent of the total, and we have seen this number grow 12
per cent over the last three years”, he relays.
“Students from India and Ireland are next in terms of
the total numbers of students in our villages,” he adds.
Other source countries of note are Greece, Cyprus, Nige-ria
and the USA.
CEO of US student room-finder 4stay, Akobir A Azamo-vich,
finds himself at the opposite end of international
student flow because of visa restrictions. “International
students are going to Europe and Canada rather than the
US. For the Chinese students, the visa review period has
been extended, the validity period has been shortened and
the refusal rate has increased. Therefore, at the moment
we are more focusing on domestic students which ac-counts
ISSUE #24 | THE PIE REVIEW | 21
“ “We also work very closely with universities to assist their
students with off-campus housing requirements and a full
range of international educational agents.”
Both Student.com and Unilodgers, as well as other, similar
platforms, are themselves among the tools employed by
student accommodation providers.
For example, The Stay Club supplements its online and so-cials
activities with a presence at fairs (including BMI, Study
World, ICEF, EAIE, NAFSA, and university housing fairs) and
recourse to the aggregator platforms mentioned above.
Ulanowicz explains that these relationships are key when
students are comparing their options: “They help us connect
with even more students…as they themselves have unique
relationships with different demographics. Student.com
for example began its journey in China before expanding,
whereas Unilodgers were initially active in India and evolved
Both Campus Living Villages and The Student Hotel
directly partner with international HEIs (across the UK, US,
Australia and New Zealand in the case of the former, while
the latter operates in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy
and France) and receive most of their custom via partner
institutions. Both prefer the direct relationship model, but
Campus Living Villages also works with several booking
agents, platforms and listing sites.
Hoekstra explains sometimes The Student Hotel lacks the
reach to generate the desired enrolment funnel. “In those
cases (mainly pre-opening in a new market, or in highly
competitive markets) we do activate extra platforms to help
us reach the hard-to-find students,” she says.
The geography of student flow
In terms of where the demand is coming from, there are nu-merous
factors in the mix that have stemmed or encouraged
student flow across various markets.
Regarding the UK, the recent decision by the government
to reinstate the two-year work visa for international students
has been universally welcomed. While there are still con-cerns
over Brexit and the uncertainty around it, the general
view among platforms and providers is that the reputational
strength of UK HEIs is such that they are continuing to att-ract
international students in sizeable numbers, particularly
Around 85 per cent of The Student Hotel’s
student population is international
PHOTO: STUDENT HOTEL
for 95 per cent of bookings.”