It’s no surprise to those who own, operate, and manage off-campus housing communities that today’s college student, their parents, and the university all expect more out of the residential living-learning experience. It begins with the experience of living on campus where today’s residence halls have gone through complete makeovers and renovations with regards to technology, finishes, and the continued focus on resident life development. When the time comes to make the decision to live off-the demands of campus, students and their parents are extremely high going well beyond location and amenities.
There has been a huge focus on growth and an influx of luxury living for college students in the development sector, while the education institutions are aggressively focusing on international student recruitment. Just as students are highly attracted to the type of “wow factor” in student housing communities with extravagant amenities and lifestyle, international students are highly attracted to the academic excellence across major universities. But at the end of the day, they are all college students living in a digital world where their daily life is accessible on a mobile or tablet device. What does this mean for the student housing sector? Realizing that some of these so-called trends being discussed are no longer lurking around, they are closing in on becoming reality. It’s time to become proactive by taking the next steps to accommodate the “what’s next theories.”
There will always be discussions in our niche sector regarding trends as they relate to luxury living in product and development; modern furnishings; technology like the Internet; and, of course, adapting to the next generations demands. However, there are a few demographic trends that have been circulating over the past year.
To begin with technology in leasing and resident services is going well beyond the ability to just apply or submit a service request online. Adapting to the increasing growth of international students living in our communities means speaking another language, from marketing to resident services and resources. Renovations for today’s new Millennial are more than luxury amenities and furnishings, but your brand’s personality.
While these rising trends will, of course, bring challenges, they will also impact the overall living-learning experience, bottom line, and continued growth of our off-campus communities. It’s time to not only understand what’s next, but how to prepare and establish a strategic approach -- all while focusing on attracting, retaining, and building brand loyalty.
Over the next few issues of Campus Connections, I will be focusing on the rising trends and challenges facing student housing today. You will uncover in more depth a strategy for how you can face these challenges in planning, execution, and getting your teams on board with embracing the ever-growing demands and expectations from today’s student and parent renters. Here are the segments we will be addressing in the upcoming issues:
Recruitment never ends for universities, and forward-thinking strategies are always in the forefront when adapting to the needs and expectations of the college student demographic. Student housing is no different, and here on Campus Connections you will discover a whole new set of possibilities, as well as strategies to get your communities in front of more students and parents!
Kim Cory is Director of Student Media at For Rent Media Solutions™