From Cradle To Graduate: How To Retain Generation Z Beyond University
Generation Z are beginning to make their presence felt in the PBSA (Purpose-Built Student Accommodation) sector. Operators have to stay mindful of what this age group wants, and – especially – how to lengthen the appeal of their properties as students graduate and take up employment.
Last month, Student-Furniture visited a conference on this very subject. We want to share what we picked up regarding the long-view mentality of PBSA projects.
Students want to meet people like them, and so do graduates, many of whom are thrust into a networking role. PBSA builds should centre on giving both types of renters the sense that they can talk, relax and engage with members of their university/local community by simply heading down a flight of stairs.
An on-site café might kickstart this aim before we consider other amenities. Private study rooms, which can double for professional brainstorms, are a more inventive take on what new students may expect. Several developers are forging links with other campuses, activity groups and business hubs – ‘meet & greet’ sessions can make residents feel as if they’re part of a social fabric, instead of looking in from the outside.
Wi-fi-friendly layouts and furniture
The average student owns five wireless internet devices. Increasingly, young professionals are no different, as so much of modern life demands that we’re accessible and connected 24/7. PBSA properties that make internet access easier are going to be held in higher esteem than those that don’t.
This can be envisioned in several ways. First, a wealth of charging ports need to be implemented: at least several in every room. Second, project teams can furnish the area with hi-tech units such as a sofa or bed with power points at the side. Finally, a good layout is essential, as nothing should block the signal and/or anyone’s ability to reach a socket. Pay particular attention to desk space; it is a crucial, tech-heavy focus of late-night assignments and remote working.
Modern, welcoming design features
It’s no secret that students expect a very high standard of university accommodation – a level which, for some providers, seem unachievable. But with a quality furnishing and design partner, developers can stay abreast of interior style trends, and give graduating tenants a home they’ll want to come back to.
Largely, this revolves around a décor that bucks the expectations of student living. Faux-leather sofas, for instance, are too passé – a vivid upholstered suite is a cosier choice for evenings in. Likewise, plain walls and sideboards are too predictable; they are more attractive when offset against a pattern, or a luxury rug on the floor. Flexibility is also key, encouraged by moveable room setups that can have various configurations over a three or four-year tenancy.
The essence of dressing a space for students and graduates is thinking ahead to more mature options i.e. the provisions we want as a social, connected, style-conscious adult.
Student-Furniture is experienced in helping PBSA hit such targets with our wide range of tailored living units. Call us for inspiration, or spend time getting to know our products.