Bombay (Maharashtra) [India]April 27 (ANI/NewsSee): Indian students had to look for accommodation run by educational institutions or space rented by landlords near their colleges/universities.
The student accommodation industry, which used to consist mostly of unorganized players, is witnessing a tremendous shift with professional student accommodation solution providers now operating in multiple cities and striving for a pan-India presence for their brands. Pan-Indian operators can create national brands that enable them to attract students from multiple centers of demand.
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In PGs and hostels, mundane weekly menus with aloo paranthas are served to students all week, while professional operators prepare more appealing menus for them. Previously the demand generation was entirely offline and based on word of mouth, this is also seeing a major shift with Gen Z looking to book their hostels directly by researching options online.
Before the rise of student housing startups and alternative asset classes in student housing real estate, family operators averaged 10-15 bedrooms.
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Student accommodation operators are strengthening their presence in cities with strategic buildings built in suites that have more than 50 rooms. This enables them to provide better communal facilities like gyms, study rooms, hangout areas to their residents.
The last two years of COVID have been particularly difficult for former owner-operators, which means they are more willing to opt for a rental model with a consistent return on investment for their property.
This is also the case for hotel owners who find a rental model supported by predictable student demand more appropriate than a revenue sharing model with hotel aggregators like Oyo, Fab, Treebo, etc. who have been forced to give up properties in key markets amid the pandemic. This has positively sparked the interest of large landowners, hotel and property investors and UHNIs to invest in bespoke student accommodation projects. The sector is expected to continue growing to reach more than USD 25 billion per year by 2025.
Structural changes in the student housing industry can be attributed to several factors, but it is safe to say that COVID has propelled an urgent need to embrace these changes.
The services offered in a student residence will become the real differentiator in the market. It used to be that all parents and students were looking for a clean bed to sleep in, with some sense of security and basic meals.
Today, professional operators differentiate themselves on the basis of complementary services like laundry, 4 personalized meals a day, facial recognition at entrance gates, TAT committed to R&M services and thoughtfully designed common areas that enhance the “coefficient of collaboration” between the students. Thanks to COVID over the past two years, they have added additional health services such as on-demand medical appointments, free mental health counseling sessions, and medical insurance coverage. It is therefore at the level of services that the operators of tomorrow will differentiate themselves.
The demand acquisition channel is now online, which has forced operators to improve their digital acquisition channels. Seamless user interface for website and mobile app, targeted social media campaigns, strategic Google listings, relevant aggregator listings are imperative for operators to ensure students enroll with them. With over 75% of demand acquisition on online platforms, this will create an environment for online ad platforms to flourish in the years to come.
AI and IoT driven management systems are becoming a mainstay of the real estate industry. Although the student housing industry is in its infancy, student housing operators are already adopting IoT solutions such as wifi-enabled electricity meters, smart locks and entry systems to allow them to manage their spaces. and their operating costs more efficiently.
The next 5-10 years are an exciting time for the student housing and co-living market in India. With improving urban migration rates, more and more students leaving their hometowns to study in centers of excellence, the market will only continue to grow and professional players are well positioned to thrive in this market. in full growth.
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