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What Influences a Student Most To Choose Their Student Accommodation
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What Influences a Student Most To Choose Their Student Accommodation

Written by Sam | May 9, 2020

When we look at students and try to figure out what they are looking for when choosing a place to stay, we normally always focus on the things we perceive they want and these can a plush bed, big desk, storage space, communal areas, and kitchens, these are all important factors, however, what do students really want in their house to make them live in it for the next 1-3 years!

We looked at several reports including the Knight Frank report of 2020 and went back 2 years to see the difference and trends that are happening!

What Makes a Student Happy?

  • Location
  • Option to live in the property for more than one year
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Ability to live with a friend or other students
  • Facilities
  • Quality of accommodation
  • Atmosphere
  • Cost
  • Social scene (e.g. events on-site)
  • Ability to live with family

Compare this to 2018’s data:

  • Location
  • Facilities
  • Ability to live with friends or other students
  • Atmosphere
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Social scene (e.g. events on-site)
  • Catering/meals included (if applicable)
  • Quality of accommodation
  • Cost
  • Ability to live with family

The top performer over the 2 years was location, I think this report is tailored slightly more to PBSA students however, if we include landlords in this, location is a competitive market because everyone knows what are the desired locations in a city, it then becomes about who can be the most creative to get in those locations.

In the latest one, we think that students wanting to stay in the house more than a year is down to hassle and ease, because finding a student house can be stressful!

Thirdly, the number of bedrooms is interesting, personally we would love to see what the optimum number of bedrooms are for each area, I would hazard a guess that they are normally between 3-5 but having seen the rise of enquiries in studios, there might be a shift in a market trend!

Finally, we had to say it cost, it appears 2nd and 3rd bottom respectively on both reports. This shows that students want VALUE and will find a way to afford it if they think it is good value! The question to answer is, what do they think is good value? I am not sure many reports can truly define this, but in the reports, they ask what rooms students think are the best value, and they are:

  • Private property on my own or with a partner rented from a private landlord – 2020
  • A room in a cluster flat with an en suite bathroom, within privately operated halls – 2018

Please remember the lists above are on what do students see as factors for happiness and not what the ultimate decision for choosing accommodation is, these lists are next.

What Influences a Students Decision On Student Accommodation?

  • Value for money
  • Quality of accommodation
  • Cleanliness of the bedroom
  • Bills included
  • Overall cost
  • Facilities (e.g. WiFi, parking, gym)
  • Location of the property
  • Quality of the furnishings
  • Size of the bedroom
  • Reviews of the accommodation

2020 Report

  • Value for money
  • Overall cost
  • Cleanliness of the bedroom
  • Quality of accommodation
  • Location of the property
  • Facilities (e.g. WiFi, parking, gym)
  • Quality of the furnishings
  • Bills included
  • Size of the bedroom
  • Amount of light in the bedroom

That word value comes in to play again, overall cost in 2020 has gone down and it’s whether they see value in the accommodation that they will be staying in, what do they see as value? Again it’s individual and unsure what how we can quantify without surveying a lot of students to get a mean.

Another one that strikes me are quality and cleanliness of the accommodation, these have been near the top for the past few years. This should be a big focus point for the landlord or provider or they will be losing a lot of students because that is what they are judging. How do you define quality of accommodation, I think when you look at the vital aspects, it is visually appealing, modern, designed well and has been maintained to a good standard.

Most Important Factors for International Students

Value of accommodation has no borders, again trying to understand the value in something especially a student that is international can be tricky. Some may have found the secret, however, value comes on top! Make sure to show it off when they come for a viewing!

There has been a change of order after value and in the recent years we have seen it shift from location of the property to overall cost. With rising prices and expenses it is no wonder it comes to overall cost, however, they will be pay more if they can see value in the property.

The ones below come out the same as the students who are from the UK already! Cleanliness is up there with quality but one we have been consistently shocked about is the reviews!

There are a lot of companies that focus on getting reviews for their places, and they aren’t wasting their time when they do this, but are they focusing too much on an area that might not be paying the best dividends. Reviews mean a lot on google and trustpilot, however, can you make the experience even better than it was last year?

What Would Students Pay More For?

  • Fast WiFi included
  • Bigger/comfier bed
  • A better view from the bedroom
  • On-site gym
  • More natural light in the bedroom
  • Free bike hire
  • Larger bedroom
  • On-site laundrette
  • Cinema room
  • 24 hour security
  • Study or group work spaces
  • On-site swimming pool
  • Gaming rooms
  • Better communal kitchen/dining facilities
  • On-site restaurant/cafe/bar
  • Discounts for shops/amenities in the local area
  • In-house events (e.g. clubs, parties, live music)

Knight Frank – 2020

  • Fast WiFi
  • Bigger/comfier bed
  • More natural light in the bedroom
  • On-site gym
  • Better communal kitchen/ dining facilities
  • Discounts for shops/ amenities in the local area
  • 24-hour security
  • On-site swimming pool
  • Gaming rooms
  • Cinema room
  • Larger bedroom
  • Study or group workspaces
  • Free bike hire
  • In-house events (e.g. clubs, parties, live music)

Widely accepted and this goes for international students I presume, Fast Wfi is a must have in a student home, if you think teach student has X2 devices that will need wifi, then you need to get the right provider for that. It may not be cheap, however the rewards will be recognised.

The second point you want to consider is, could you have a bigger bed and could you charge slightly more for it. Cross this with fast wifi and it’s a recipe for success! If you can then take a look out the bedroom window and see a magnificent skyline, then you have the perfect bedroom. Natural light and good views I am sure is likely to reduce stress and make a student feel better if they can get sunlight in!

In these you can see the PBSA parts shine through, you can’t get an on-site gym in the basement of a house if it even has one. However, can you broker a deal with a local gym to get a discount for all students that sign up there? The gym is quite important for many students and they would prefer a discount if possible!

Conclusion

There is a lot in here to show that there are a lot of factors to decide when choosing a student house or accommodation. If you are a student provider then I would look at the top 5 items and see how you impact those the most!

As a student, you can decide what to look for, you are the person making the decision, you can decide what will and won’t influence you, however if you ever get asked to participate in feedback, please do, because then you can help the world of student accommodation be better!

Students are happy in the right locations of the university, and will pay more for fast wifi and bigger beds, however the ultimate deciding factor is value for money with a pinch of overall cost.

Value for money is hard to showoff because each person will value different aspects in accordance to their values. If and when you show students round, you ask them what matters most to them and show them off. Students if you hold something valuable, it doesn’t make you vulnerable, it means the letting agent or landlord will be able to help you more and put you in the right student accommodation for you!

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