|Student Housing: Interactive Kiosks Meet Leasing Office Demands|
Market-based solutions allow colleges/universities to allocate their ever-tighter budget dollars to their core mission: education. As student "consumers" look for housing options, many schools find themselves unable and/or unwilling to compete. Yet, housing is critical to the institutions's marketability. Tom Trubiana, Chief Investment Officer at REIT EdR says, "Schools are looking for solutions to fulfill their commitment to students. They're looking to the private sector, which can go out to the capital markets and raise funds."
As a result of this change, "student housing" is seeing the addition of features and amenities typically associated with "market" housing. Mike Harnett, Pulte's chief investment officer, suggests "resort-style student housing" is becoming the norm -- and this is similar to housing provided by Pulte in its Del Webb communities. “It’s about high-touch, hospitality, and lifestyle,” he says.
The leasing process is somewhat unique in this market niche. Students might reserve popular locations a year (or more) in advance. At the same time, there's a tremendous "rush" at certain times in the year. Just as complexes are changing, the leasing office must adapt, as well. We're seeing the addition of interactive touchscreen kiosks and tablets to provide a quick overview of what's available to lease (and when), property highlights and surrounding local "hot spots" including dining, shopping and hotels for parents to use when visiting!