ISSUE #24 | THE PIE REVIEW | 25
Not just a room – an experience
There is widespread agreement in the sector that students
are looking for more than just a room, partly because they
are paying higher fees but also because, as Goddard puts
it, “they are looking for an experience”.
“The competitive landscape of the student accommoda-tion
sector has meant that students have more choice than
ever,” underlines Dickinson at Campus Living Villages,
“and providers need to be at the top of their game to en-sure
they remain attractive.”
Baker references a rise in demand for “truly all-inclusive
accommodation, where all of the students’ needs are
catered for.” Examples include GSA properties in Barce-lona
and Madrid which provide three course meals and
entertainment on a daily basis.
Noting the proliferation of student services ranging from
24-hour security, yoga classes, leadership workshops and
engaging events, Smith says: “You can’t just give a resident
a key and expect to just see them in 51 weeks anymore,
you have to demonstrate superior services.”
a resident a key and
expect to see them in
51 weeks anymore “
You can’t just give
ham, parts of East and West London, any parts of a city
with over-exposure to a second or third tier institution.”
Goddard cites Nottingham, Bath, Exeter, London and
Manchester as “undersupplied for purpose built student
accommodation…and cities like Belfast which are still in
their infancy of development.” Meanwhile, The Stay Club
notes the gaps in affordable housing in London.
In continental Europe, Smith “sees the Netherlands,
Germany and Spain as exciting study destinations with
some excellent institutions that are attracting significant
PHOTO: STUDENT ROOST
A proliferation of services have been introduced such as
daily entertainment, yoga and leadership workshops.
And Hoekstra at The Student Hotel reveals that the
company has seen “a high demand for student housing in
Europe’s capitals” particularly in the established markets
of Amsterdam and Paris but also in Berlin and Vienna too.
Further afield, Smith is in no doubt where the next growth
hub will be.
“If ever there was a location worldwide that is in need of
private student accommodation then it’s India, specifical-ly
Delhi and Bangalore, and Unilodgers is working closely
with universities and operators in India to close this gap,”
“Universities have tried to keep up with the private pro-viders
but in some cases their rent rises have been ahead
of any improvements in their buildings or management.
Students are perceptive and they’ve seen this disparity so
it’s no longer automatic that they will choose university-owned
accommodation which then puts the universities
under pressure,” he adds.
The growth areas
The scope to demonstrate these superior buildings and servi-ces
is narrowing in some places. The Financial Times recently
carried out a detailed report on the saturation of student ac-commodation
in Plymouth and the student housing schemes
that failed. Other areas in the UK have struggled too.
“In the UK, if I had an investor on board now I’d be
pitching Brighton, Bristol, Nottingham, York, Edinburgh,
Loughborough and central London,” says Smith at Unilod-gers.
“If I wanted 100 per cent occupancy for the next three
years, I’d avoid Sheffield, Liverpool, Coventry, Birming-