The student housing industry is booming. According to Savills, in 2017 there were 75,000 student beds in the UK acquired by investors for £5.3bn, a rise of 17% year on year.
With hundreds of companies all providing a similar service, it can be difficult to stand out to potential new occupants.
The brief for Pelican was to create an app for students in Southampton to explore new residences which were still in construction, and view specific rooms off-plan.
Sarah Canning is the sales and marketing director at the Student Housing Company. She explained: “Although we did have an off-site marketing suite and show flat, we decided to introduce the room-finding app so we could offer students the opportunity to really visualise where they were going to be living, giving them a feel for the whole residence before making a final decision.”
The software was accessed by touchscreen technology from the marketing suite, enabling students to take a virtual tour of the new homes. This included all furniture and décor, so potential residents could get a real feel for the accommodation.
The app also provided detailed location information from an interactive map, highlighting distances to points of interest in the local area.
“The creation of the app is based on the innovative technology we have created for property developers,” says Tony Nicol, managing director of Pelican. “It allows students the same benefits as potential house purchasers when it comes to viewing and selecting their room, with transparency of choice enabling an informed decision.”
Over 1,000 students in Southampton used the app when they visited the marketing suite and agreed that the user-friendly technology provided a more insightful way of navigating new halls of residents compared to printed brochures and floor plans.
A benefit of the app for The Student Housing Company’s sales team is its portability. As it was accessed via iPads it could be used at external student events, to help capture students who may not otherwise have thought to book the properties.
“Following the overwhelming feedback received from students in Southampton, we have since rolled the app out across all of our off-plan sites with great success,” says Canning. “Moving forward we plan to include the technology in our own website, making the information even more accessible to students.
“We had over 1,000 students in Southampton visit the marketing suite and test the app, and they agreed that the user-friendly technology provided a far more insightful way of navigating new halls of residence than traditional paper floorplans. We also saw that uptake of rooms leased off-plan was higher than we have experienced previously, without the technology.”