Feb 20

Catering to Students: An Unconventional Approach

Posted by: Entrata | Category: Student

The one-size-fits-all approach might work with headbands and wooly hats. But in the multifamily industry, there are very few cookie-cutter solutions.

A key component to creating a user-friendly experience, for both prospects and existing residents, is to develop catered solutions based on the type of resident you’re aiming to attract. Yet many multifamily operators go about their student-housing practices in the same manner as their conventional processes.

While the vast differences in student leasing seasons must first be considered, catering to student residents is more than just understanding their unique leasing timelines.

Here are some additional components student-housing operators should consider to cater to the student experience:

Catered webpage content

In the conventional sector, communities are purely targeting the prospect with their content. At a student housing community, you might be talking to their parents as well. As parents help their college-aged sons and daughters find a home, items like covered parking, controlled building access and reliable onsite courtesy patrol are things that might make them feel better about your community. They’ll also be more enamored by a property that doesn’t give the impression of a glorified fraternity or sorority house, which leads to the next component . . .

Student-centric amenities

Numerous studies and surveys indicate that the No. 1 most important feature for a student community is proximity to campus. Even you don’t have much wiggle room there since you can’t exactly uproot your building and relocate it, you can differentiate your appeal in different ways. While everyone loves a resort-style swimming pool and other happening social spaces, those amenities don’t always move the needle at student communities. Student residents want resources that can augment their studies, such as study rooms, an onsite library, student-themed resident events, and naturally, reliable building-wide Wi-Fi.

Metered or automatically divided bills

At a conventional apartment home, rent arrives one solid dollar figure and roommates can hash out how they’ll get it taken care of. Because student-housing communities rent by the bed rather than the unit, property management systems should have the capability to charge roommates by their individual share rather than a lump sum for the home. That concept should be available for shared monthly bills as well, considering the unique living dynamic. If one roommate in a four-bedroom home is late on rent or a certain bill, the other three student occupants shouldn’t be forced to endure the consequences. The quest to enhance the total user experience at student communities doesn’t only include the items above, of course. For instance, student operators can help residents find roommates or intervene on roommate disputes in a more proactive manner than at conventional communities.  The overriding idea is to eschew the one-size-fits-all approach and create catered solutions for your specific type of resident, in this case, the college student.