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Student accommodation: Maximise rental income by understanding what the students want


Student accommodation: Maximise rental income by understanding what the students want

Major injections of investment have transformed the student accommodation sector. While the demand for PBSA has risen over the years, so has the competition – the pie is bigger but more and more players are fighting for a piece. In this scenario, what can student housing management companies do to maximise rental income? Knowing what the students want is the key to success. 

So what exactly are students looking for when they go out shopping for housing? What can you do to fulfil their needs?

Deliver value for money
Just like any other purchase it always boils down to ‘what you’re getting for what you’re paying for’; the same applies to accommodation – students will be deciding on properties based on what is provided. It takes the modern student a few minutes to get out their mobile and research multiple other properties within the same price and location. 

Items like flooring, carpeting, bathroom finishes, kitchen fixtures, and gadgets may not seem substantial at the first glance. However, for the student they could be deciding factors. In fact, students are even willing to pay extra to have items like a flat screen TV, large refrigerator or a separate washer and dryer.  Make sure you are aware of what other providers in the locality are offering.

Save money but don’t cut corners 
It’s important to establish fees based on a combination of factors such as student demographic, cost of living in that area and location. These factors can then be compared to the amenities provided and the outcome should be a reliable base to work from. If you are planning to charge a premium, ensure that you’ve gone above and beyond to provide a top facility and amenities.  Knowing what others in the market are charging is a given.  

But when you are looking to maximise those profits, cost savings can sometimes come from those hidden factors like efficiency of processing, maximisation of banking, smart refunds – sometimes big savings can be sitting there right under your nose.

Invest in marketing
One of the first things a student does after confirming their acceptance to a university is to search online for housing. With technology developing so rapidly students can now take virtual tours of the rooms they wish to occupy. Most housing searches are now done online so a strong online presence is essential to being visible to a student. Investing in a solid SEO/SEM strategy can dictate occupancy rates and even the type of clientele you want to attract.   

Tie up with universities
One of the best ways to ensure occupancy is for developers or managers of purpose-built off-campus student housing to team up with local universities. These partnerships can be profitable for both the developer and the university. In addition, being associated with a university also provides authenticity and confidence to students considering tenancy. 

With the student housing market growing every year there are great growth opportunities on the horizon.  In addition, international student mobility trends are also moving in a favourable direction for property managers to capitalize on.

Persuade the parents
Don’t forget mom and dad – their views count, especially when they are likely to be paying the rent.  So look at your property from their view point – security and safety are going to be pretty high on their list of what they want to see.

If you are looking for more specific actionable points, read:10 ideas for student housing property managers who want to fill up all their properties.  

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