StarRez hosts roundtable with CUBO and Customers
We recently hosted a roundtable with our partner CUBO (College and University Business Officers) to explore how effective marketing can be to manage the booking and contracts process given the observations and slow-down in applications in the past year. To understand how our customers are managing this, we were joined by Danielle Hopkinson, Accommodation Officer at Leeds Trinity University and Stephen Bulley, IT Manager at University of Sheffield.
For a number of reasons, applications have slowed down, and the booking process has become elongated. It has been harder to drive efficiently this time round, with many additional steps and disconnected processes, which costs operations time and money, and ultimately doesn’t help with improving the student experience. With the past year being so uncertain for so many, this is to be expected but we wanted to explore how we get past that and how universities are encouraging students to complete and commit to their accommodation. Whilst confidence may be low, and this is a valid concern as we are still coming out of lockdowns across the country, choosing where to attend university and where to live is still a huge decision for students and ultimately decide their future path.
With Leeds Trinity and University of Sheffield attending as our guest speakers, they were able to provide insight into what changes they have had to make. Leeds Trinity have updated their website to include 360 virtual tours as students cannot visit campus. They have increased their use of social media and ensured everything can be found online. They have also invested in a digital totem on campus ensuring they can deliver up to date messaging at all times and helps towards driving engagement with the students. University of Sheffield still have a high number of students returning but have still had to make some changes, including accepting contracts earlier and installing a new communications channel for students using webchat. Room Self-selection appears to be a game changer, empowering students to choose and giving them the flexibility and responsibility to choose their own room is a preference for students.
“In previous years, we would have allocated a student to a ‘type’ of accommodation, and then let them know their room number when they arrive on campus to move in. Now, our students are able to go online and look at the rooms we have available and select the room they want. This enables them to find their flat mates on social media, and start building relationships before moving in, making the moving in process much less stressful, and our students have responded really positively to this.”
Danielle Hopkinson, Accommodation Officer at Leeds Trinity University
“We have made a lot of use of reporting and data over the past couple of years when applications have started to decline. Being able to capture up to date contact information early in the process, monitor where students drop out of the application and then follow up using different contact channels has helped us to be more proactive in filling all the rooms.”
Stephen Bulley, IT Manager at University of Sheffield
The Roundtable was well attended, and questions ranged from setting expectations for students booking a room, ensuring wellbeing and safety when selecting rooms and roommates, and tools used for maintenance and inspections. StarRez are able to help fill these gaps and meet the needs of universities by providing a modern, easy to use seamless booking system to rebuild that student confidence and ensure the process is as smooth as possible.
The webinar was for CUBO members but if you would like to discuss any of the content discussed, know more about StarRez or request a demo, please do get in contact with Mark Stewart who hosted the roundtable.