For many students, the 2021 academic year marks the turning over of a new leaf. The events of last year affected the student population immensely, but time moves on and accommodation continues to be an essential part of the university experience.
Students will be approaching the lettings market with a newly cautious mindset, however, and won’t be leaving finding the perfect home to chance. Student houses are not only homes and study spaces but the epicentre of their social lives, too.
Pullout stat: Over 65% of students find their new accommodation via a referral
A recent survey showed that over 65% of students find their new accommodation through a friend referral or via their student network. Despite less than 15% finding their new homes on sites such as Rightmove, Zoopla and StuRents combined the majority of agents continue to use these services. This trend will likely continue to grow in the coming years, and agents should adapt accordingly by adopting referral schemes.
So, here are four reasons why referral systems will be favoured by students in 2021.
For agents, letting is a numbers game. For students, it’s all about time. There’s simply never enough of it! Between studying and making the most of their newfound freedom, students don’t have the time to scroll through rental sites or research agents in their area.
What’s more, the best properties tend to be snapped up pretty quickly when the new academic year starts, so the pressure’s on to find the perfect property before Christmas. A referral from a friend points them in the right direction (your direction) straight away, without them even considering a competitor.
With most students living away from home for the first time at university, they’re suddenly in charge of their own money, time, and space, which is a lot of responsibility to take on!
A referral scheme takes a lot of the guesswork out of what can be an overwhelming process. If they have been told your agency is the best for communication, efficiency and trust, they won’t need to look anywhere else. This saves the student’s head from exploding and gets more leads into your pipeline, fast. Win-win!
Student communities are tight-knit and word-of-mouth is the best way to advertise to these groups. Whether you’re promoting a free club night or rental property, the quickest way to get the word out is via their preexisting networks.
Trust is a huge factor here. As we’ve established, students can often feel like fish out of water, so a recommendation from a friend, or even a friend of a friend, can provide assurance. The additional benefit is that you don’t even have to advertise!
4. Benefits for students
Don’t underestimate students’ love of a good discount! Unless they’ve hit the student job jackpot, most are strapped for cash, so a money-off voucher or discount code can go a long way when looking to get their attention.
Our survey found that 85% of students would recommend their letting agency to a friend as long as the referral reward was mutually beneficial. Hatchpad’s referral program has been built with this in mind and offers discounts with dozens of leading student brands.
For students, referrals are a no brainer! They help their friends find a safe and comfortable home, and they get free stuff!
What does this mean for agencies?
A positive recommendation for your agency is more valuable to students than a well-targeted ad. Don’t just rely on word-of-mouth; use our trackable referral program to stay ahead of your competition and make the most of the conversations students are already having.