Providing an Enhanced Conference Experience at University Center Chicago

Learn how University Center Chicago transforms its conference experience with StarRez.
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Key Highlights


Occupancy level achieved with online bookings for unique stays.


On-campus housing locations using one central management system for maximum efficiency & visibility.


Single-source solution to support student housing and conference & event management.


Data subscriptions used to simplify event contract processing and save time.

University Center Chicago
Great Lakes, USA
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University Center is a year-round student housing complex with a full-service conference facility that also offers summer housing to groups and individuals. University Center is centrally located in the heart of downtown, near all major attractions. They often host a range of clients from small-midsized events, associations, non-profits, continuing education, and a focus on weekend business conferences. Summer housing serves both groups and short-stay guests, individual leasing for interns, and temporary housing for hotel-style stays, which complements the conference experience operation.

System Overload Causes Inefficient Workflows

Managed by Peak Campus, University Center is a student housing complex that offers newly renovated apartments and amenities for students, groups, and individuals in the heart of Chicago. It provides not only an outstanding conference center, but on-campus housing for five local Universities, off-campus housing, summer housing, dining, and retail spaces.

The management of University Center is a dynamic operation that previously ran on more than five separate software products for different purposes. With unique systems managing housing, conferences, packages and mail, maintenance and work orders and more, University Center was ambitious to find a single source solution that would streamline their work and meet their overall needs.

In order to accommodate the needs of their vast resident populations, University Center aimed to pivot from a multi-system approach. For them, finding a single-source solution that could manage the intricacies of bookings, invoicing, billing, and reporting was crucial. It became impossible for the University Center team to support their community and provide an exceptional conference experience while managing an ecosystem of complex solutions.

A Single-Source Solution for Increased Satisfaction

The University Center team prioritized the need to transition to a single housing software platform that would handle the breadth of work needed to run their robust student housing, conferencing, and events operations. After extensive research, StarRez stood out as the single most robust solution that could handle each aspect of the residential lifecycle and conference experience, proving to be the obvious choice as their go-forward platform.

Within the implementation process, the University Center team looked to address the inefficiencies surrounding staff productivity and work on improving the overall conference experience for their guests. Simply put, the team was able to simplify their conferencing operation workflows and support occupancy levels. The overall management of short and long stays and unique guest requirements improved tremendously.

“We opted for a solution using PortalX to do all of our event contracts digitally, building out an entire portal dedicated to conference and events with an event dashboard. And then, lots of data subscriptions to just make everything easier for our sales team as they entered data and put it into the system.”

Jake Holtz, Director of Sales and Operation, University Center Chicago

A Holistic View of the Event & Conference Experience

University Center executed a seamless installation of a streamlined solution to meet their organizational goals. The team has utilized the power of StarRez for the greatest positive impact on their diverse residential population and their internal staff.

Since implementation, the University Center team thoroughly enjoys the power of StarRez’s occupancy and functions graph, which provides quick access to booking activity. It allows them to easily manage check-in/out, billing, invoicing, and more. Guests also enjoy the flexibility of the online bookings portal. The combination of short stay bookings and group bookings facilitated online helps their operation maintain occupancy levels of around 97%. In addition to occupancy, the Resident Portal helps manage everything from online contracts, maintenance work order requests, invoicing, and more.

One PortalX feature that has been exceptionally beneficial is the contracts piece, which allows new and returning users to submit event requests. The event dashboard allows them to view approval details of documents and sign their contract. From the history dashboard, they can view past events as well as the account ledger.

“Moving to one solution has helped us streamline operations & greatly enhanced the customer experience.”

Jake Holtz, Director of Sales and Operation, University Center Chicago

StarRez's robust cloud solution addressed their challenges and provided centralization – successfully connecting every department and team with one comprehensive student housing and conference experience management system.

Check out our Events & Conference solution overview for more information.