EMEA Connect Conference 2023, Our Biggest One Yet!

Our community gathered on the 24th of May 2023 at International Students House for our biggest EMEA Connect ever with over 170 registered guests. With a packed agenda of best practice sessions, industry insights, and networking opportunities, our community was able to engage like never before. Some notable best practice sessions came from our community members from Hines/Aparto, the University of Sheffield, and the Graduate Institute. We also had community members from the University of London, Manchester Metropolitan University, iQ, De Montfort University, and the University of Derby participate in the panel sessions, 'Students Across the Borders' and 'Future Proofing.' The team also held learning sessions covering concerns module, PortalX resources, text templating, StarQL and Embargo options. All were designed to help our community to enhance their resident experience and increase revenue using StarRez.

"The presenters were confident with their knowledge of StarRez and it felt really positive. Plenty of opportunity for engagement and really good location. This was my first opportunity to meet the rest of the StarRez team - very knowledgeable and friendly."

Kereen Turner, University of Derby

Managing Residential Experience Across the Borders 

Due to the increasing popularity in travel abroad programs, our team focused on content and topic discussions that would support our community to think creatively about residents that extend beyond their home borders. We hosted a panel session and best practice sessions that specifically dove into this topic.

Liina Pasenau, StarRez Manager and Systems Trainer at Hines / Aparto spoke to our community about the complexities of the European market in her best practice session 'Nuances of the European Market.' Her presentation gave us insights into what makes a successful residential program today in Europe. Some takeaways include integrating translations in your portal translations into your portal, how to manage different booking systems while adhering to local regulations, and the importance of complying with local authorities. It was a fantastic overview of the potential but also the challenges faced in the European market.

"It was very interesting hearing about both the freedom and the restrictions within the European student market.” 

Amber Hall, iQ

In a recent Student Demand survey held by our partner, The Class Foundation, it showed an increase of up to 25% of students coming from Asia and 9% from South America year on year as students begin to travel again - thus, our focal subject for our panel Students Across Borders. We focused on how important it is to ensure all staff are equipped to manage students from across the globe and understand the different support they may require. By understanding what is happening in those regions students are travelling from, Crystal Hon from MMU talked about how important those pre arrival communications are key to ensuring a smooth transition.

Streamlining Process and Planning for the Future

We love hearing from our community and how they leverage our platform. There is an incredible amount of work that goes into utilising each module to work for their institutions and maximising the input. Whether it’s reviewing processes, creating dashboards, or training staff, it goes toward ensuring they have the best journey with us. Our connect events provide the opportunity to share those best practices and learn together.  

Elaine McDermott, Accommodation Systems Developer and Stephen Bulley, Financial Planner at the University of Sheffield discussed how technology has improved their student's experience by removing 85% of their manual processes. By streamlining applications, room allocations, accommodation requests, and introducing instant chat service TAWK.to, they have been empowered to adapt to the needs of their students and implement positive changes that benefit the entire community.

David Gaymard, Director of Real Estate at Graduate Institute talked about how they moved everything online, from initial bookings through to the contract stage, eliminating multiple systems and manual processes. By using one platform, staff can share information and knowledge, while providing a more transparent experience for guests. They took us through how they use Room Selection, Room Renewals, and DocuSign integration in the European higher education market. 

With an increase in our community, we wanted to bring in a panel to discuss how they can future proof their institutions and prepare for important milestones. Some important takeaways to achieve this include moving to a secure cloud environment to reduce the risk for your institution and minimise disruption. Unanimously across the panel, it was stressed how important it is to review procedures regularly and document workflows, either through version control or by producing training videos to ensure you capsulate knowledge from your power users.

“All presentations and discussions throughout the event were thought-provoking, and it was fascinating to hear how other professionals in our sector utilize the StarRez system and overcome challenges.”

Elaine McDermott, University of Sheffield

We were absolutely thrilled to witness the incredible level of engagement displayed by the community at EMEA Connect. It's truly exhilarating to witness the power of our connect events* in fostering a vibrant community, where networking and the exchange of best practices take center stage. The event left an indelible mark on each attendee, equipping them with innovative ideas they can bring back to their institutions. Brace yourselves for an even more extraordinary experience at EMEA Connect 2024, with registration opening soon!

"I really loved how the StarRez Team provided introductions to other staff and users. This was amazing for me personally. Had some really interesting and engaging chats with StarRez and Mercury staff” 

James Frost, De Montfort University

If you have access to StarCare Online, all materials are now available to view.


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