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The Growing Student Housing Tech Stack That Can Transform Business Operations


The student accommodation sector has been transformed in the past decade. As investor interest booms, new properties have been created that have turned a fledgling asset class into a popular investment. In 2020 alone, £5.8B was invested in the UK student housing market, which made it a record-breaking year despite the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has reshaped what residents expect from their homes, which is the subject of a report from technology provider StarRez titled The Big Shift. The report delves into how property managers can deliver the right experience today that puts resident wellbeing first, while improving their chances of winning market share. Bringing together information about the technology on offer with insights and experiences from industry leaders, the report tackles the subject in three sections.

Health, Safety And Engagement

The pandemic and series of national lockdowns served to highlight two things, the report details: the importance of human interaction and, when that isn’t physically possible, the pivotal role technology can play to bring residents together. Within student accommodation, technology can carry out many functions, from student profiling and a platform for reporting wellbeing concerns to a way to book safe, shared spaces and report maintenance issues.

Communication is at the heart of all these tools, which the report’s case studies detail. Student accommodation provider Unilodge Australia used StarRez resident and property management solutions to improve staff efficiency and better engage students, which in turn has led to a greater market share. Some of the tools highlighted include an automated booking engine, financial reporting function and resident engagement tracking.

“We replaced multiple system instances with a single StarRez solution serving the entire business,” Unilodge Australia CEO Tomas Johnsson said in the report. “This immediately shortened employee onboarding while allowing staff to use the same familiar system as they moved around our properties. To further unify the system, we used the StarRez API to connect with various external providers and payment gateways to automate payments. For our students, offering connected systems has simplified their interactions with us.”


As technology drives operational efficiencies, the use of Internet of Things devices is growing across the student property sector. IoT-supported student housing not only creates safer and smarter community living environments for residents, the report details, but such devices also free up staff time so they can focus on innovation and business growth.

The use of reporting and analytics is also increasing, which the experience of Campus Living Centres in Canada highlights. A lack of visibility into operations was undermining the student accommodation provider’s ability to proactively manage facilities and improve the resident experience. StarRez’s reporting and analytics solution provided a clear dashboard and automatic system that positively impacted resident retention and satisfaction.

“We’ve found that by automating our acceptance process, we’ve been able to have a higher retention rate of students because they don’t have the time to start searching for off-campus housing while waiting to hear from us if they got in or not,” Campus Living Centres Housing Coordinator Tori Stavenjord said.

The Future Of Student Housing

The way people live and work, using technology and spaces in different ways, will continue to evolve as new tools and practices are introduced to the market. StarRez’s report examines the forces shaping the future of the student housing sector and defines what this will mean for operators.

Take cybersecurity, for example. While security has always been important, headlines over the last few years of high-profile data breaches has made this a greater concern. The report goes into the details of how a software platform must comply with privacy and security laws, as well as payment standards.

Another growing subject for operators to tackle is sustainability. The report details how the Rochester Institute of Technology is not a centre for sustainability research, but practises what it preaches across its campus. The institute’s aim is for carbon neutrality by 2030 and students are actively involved in sustainability initiatives. To provide a starting point, three simple hints for developing a sustainable community are included.

Deploying the right technology has made a huge difference to both operators and residents during the pandemic and the report provides both examples and tips throughout. Overall, it paints a view of how the world can move into a new normality, with technology that can tackle anything from health concerns to building maintenance.

The full report can be downloaded from the StarRez website.

This article was produced in collaboration between StarRez and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

Studio B is Bisnow’s in-house content and design studio. To learn more about how Studio B can help your team, reach out to