Students are “highly sophisticated consumers” in increasingly competitive student accommodation market

The Student Housing 2018 report urges PBSA sector to consider their branding and marketing.

Marketing which acknowledges students as highly discerning customers is needed to stand out in today’s competitive student accommodation market, says the Student Housing 2018 report by Knight Frank Research.

Focus on students as consumers follows on from continuing demand for university housing. High growth in student populations has spiked accommodation demands and created a highly competitive Australian university residence sector.

The Student Housing 2018 report stresses the growing importance for Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) developments to utilise “effective branding and marketing, whereby students are viewed as highly sophisticated consumers.”

“A lack of good quality… PBSA bedspaces could be detrimental to a university’s reputation and ability to recruit the best students,” the report continues.

But what is a highly sophisticated consumer?

It is widely accepted that an integral use of technology and the easy dissemination of information and personal experiences has developed consumers who are very well informed, and much more discerning.

A sophisticated consumer is perceived to have higher expectations, a focus on services, is outcomes-driven, and far more selective when making choices.

There are increasingly more accounts of students using social media and websites to exchange their experiences of universities beyond courses and campus facilities, detailing their accommodation and lifestyles. Students are also increasingly socially conscious and environmentally aware.

The challenge with such highly discerning consumers is to adopt a point of differentiation that provides a real and meaningful impact on their lives as students.

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