menu
close_24px

Case Studies

Don't just take our word for it. Read more about our work supporting our higher education and PBSA partners. 

Case Studies

Don't just take our word for it. Read more about our work supporting our higher education and PBSA partners. 

Jump to Case Study
University of Derby
How University of Derby use StudentCrowd to maintain their position as market leader of accommodation

Learn how Derby use StudentCrowd to showcase their award-winning accommodation and enhance their marketing.

University of Sheffield with logo in corner
How the University of Sheffield transformed their StudentCrowd profile

Find out how Sheffield turned their profile into an invaluable resource for students by reading our blog.

People at an office table looking at StudentCrowd insights on a desktop computer
How live rental data can revolutionise an acquisition strategy

Learn how live incentive and pricing information can be used to enable confident, bold and bid-winning acquisitions.

Greenwich University Campus
How Greenwich rose from #79 to #2 best university in the UK in just 18 months

Learn how the University of Greenwich harnessed the power of their students’ voice to increase their position on StudentCrowd league tables.

Abodus reviews on Instagram on a phone screen
Authentic review generation adding real value to students

Read more about how Abodus Student Living implemented a company-wide approach to review generation and achieved an increase in ratings and reviews.

Loughborough University
Loughborough University - What makes a good university great?

Find out how Loughborough University has fully embraced the power of their students' voice and helped their students with accommodation choices.

Manchester Metropolitan Campus
How do student reviews drive student recruitment?

Learn how Manchester Metropolitan University has achieved an increase in online applications and turned their reviews into conversations.

How University of Derby use StudentCrowd to maintain their position as market leader of accommodation

The University of Derby is an award-winning TEF Gold educational institution offering an exciting range of degrees from foundation level to PhD. Their ethos is all about empowering the next generation of talent and they are truly passionate about making a real difference to the lives of young people. Through game-changing research, academic expertise and industry engagement, they are equipping students with the practical skills, knowledge and confidence to help tackle some of the world’s most urgent challenges.

Objectives

  • Showcase award-winning accommodation
  • Improve exposure by setting KPIs for review generation
  • Maintain their position as market leader for accommodation in Derby
  • Understand the full landscape and future-proof their accommodation and university

“We wanted to showcase our accommodation on a reputable review site where people come for objective, trustworthy information”. - Teresa Walter, Marketing Officer at University of Derby

Accommodation at a Glance

University of Derby has 2,000 beds across 7 halls of residence - 78% of the beds in Derby currently. Reaching healthy occupancy levels year on year, Derby are fortunate enough to be able to offer students placed through clearing accommodation, taking the stress out of finding somewhere to live at a busy time.

Benefits

The university's relationship with StudentCrowd has seen their average rankings skyrocket from 3.32 to 4.17 in less than 10 months, as well as earning more of their properties a place on the league table. This has helped them to maintain their position as market leader in an ever-changing market. Feedback from the StudentCrowd dataset has given the university valuable insights into their own accommodation and the performance of their competitors.

Whilst staff had reservations about asking students for reviews, the digital tool kit and branded assets provided enabled them to connect with students digitally initially. With the likelihood of new market entrants emerging in the future, reviews will remain a key aspect of Derby’s marketing armoury.

“Reviews are the best way for consumers to get an honest, real-life, no-frills overview of a product or service, so being on a respected review platform like StudentCrowd and ranking highly on it can only enhance and augment our reputation as an accommodation provider and more widely as a university”.

derby-university

How the University of Sheffield transformed their StudentCrowd profile with optimised review responses

The University of Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation: the South Yorkshire-based institution is a member of the Russell Group and one of 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching. It was also recently voted best Russell Group in the NSS 2023, and currently holds the number one spot on our live league tables. More than 30,000 students from over 150 countries come to attend the University of Sheffield every year.

Understanding the importance of reviews in achieving their strategic objective to cement themselves as a “world-class university at the heart of an extraordinary city”, Sheffield engaged with StudentCrowd in March 2023, and we were delighted to contribute towards their goal.

At A Glance

Challenges

  • Low student engagement on the University of Sheffield StudentCrowd profile
  • Lack of confidence in responding to reviews
  • A tendency to avoid less-than-favourable reviews
  • Not able to engage with prospective students via responses
  • Not able to demonstrate how important student feedback is to Sheffield

Benefits 

  • Increase in student engagement
  • Students are now able to click through to their website via embedded links, boosting referrals 
  • Answering questions from students who are seriously considering applying to the university, resulting in better qualified leads
  • Demonstrating to students and parents how much Sheffield value the student experience

A Hub for Students

How did Sheffield transform their StudentCrowd page into an invaluable resource for students, improving their credibility? 

Their first step was recognising the value of engaging with prospective students. Review responses are imperative to establish trust and generate highly qualified referrals. Sheffield understood this, and that’s why they connected with us.

We supported Sheffield in optimising their review strategy through our profile package, giving them enhanced functionality such as the ability to embed links in review responses.

We also hosted consultative webinars with Sheffield, sharing profile building and rich response advice as well as best practice examples.

Leveraging the Student Voice

Armed with new tips and tools, Sheffield built review responses into their strategy, with fantastic results. This strategy included:

  • Rich responses
    Sheffield’s responses are detailed and helpful.
  • Linking
    Relevant landing pages are linked, encouraging referrals.
  • Responding to Negativity
    Research shows that negative reviews, if handled appropriately, actually engender increased trust. Sheffield don’t shy away from less-than-favourable reviews, reinforcing their authenticity.                         

Why is Review Management so Important?

UCAS research shows that, after its own website and university open days, students rely on reviews to help them evaluate where they study. Therefore staying on top of your review strategy is key to attracting and engaging with students.

A digitally savvy demographic, students expect reviews to be recent, relevant and authentic. To that end, we built a sophisticated algorithm to rank higher education providers in our league table based on the ongoing number (variety of voice), recency, and authenticity of reviews. Our league tables adjust in real time, reflective of current student sentiment. That’s why our platform attracts over 1.9 million unique user sessions every year. It is also why it is so critical for universities to continually monitor, respond to and generate reviews.

Final Thoughts

With our guidance, Sheffield’s new-and-improved strategy of rich responses, addressing of mixed or negative reviews, and strong hyperlinking has transformed their profile.

Sheffield have now built a valuable hub for prospective students to learn more, and for current students to have their say. The result is an invaluable feedback loop of insights to improve student experience and attract new students.

Contact Us

To find out how we can help you succeed, please get in touch on our website and a member of staff will get back to you as soon as possible.

How live rental data can revolutionise an acquisition strategy

Introduction

Greystar is a real estate developer and property manager with 120,000 student beds globally including across 6 key cities in the UK and invest in the StudentCrowd dataset in order to:

  • Strengthen their market proposition
  • Maintain a competitive edge
  • Ensure decision-making across the board is data-led 

They were also able to utilise this live view of the full UK market in order to optimise their bid for the StudentRoost portfolio which resulted in one of the largest transactions in 2022.

At A Glance

Challenges

  • Greystar was competing for a premium portfolio acquisition
  • Precision and confidence were required to formulate the winning pitch

Benefits

  • Greystar could work in synergy with their advisors to bring expertise together with granular data providing the precision analysis that created the confidence to make a bold, well crafted offer.

Using the Data & Insights Tool

Utilising comprehensive pricing and incentive information across all tenancies, all rooms and all buildings in the UK PBSA market allows for exceptional precision when optimising data for due diligence, CAGR assessment, valuations, and more. Along with their wealth of expertise, this allowed Greystar along with their advisors the granular level of data that enables bold choices. Being confident in decision-making in instances like this can, and in Greystar’s case, did, make all the difference to winning a bid.

Access Reliable Data

StudentCrowd Data, expertly utilised by advisors and operators as a team to combine with superb industry knowledge can truly strategically shape a pitch and ultimately land on the winning formula. In the Greystar instance, Student Roost was acquired jointly with GIC and includes over 23,000 beds across 22 locations catapulting Greystar’s presence in the UK Student Housing market.

Don't have time now?

Case studies on the go

Download all of our case studies and read them in your own time.

woman-on-laptop-02

How the University of Greenwich harnessed the power of their students’ voice to rise from #79 to #2 best university in the UK in just 18 months

Introduction

The University of Greenwich is a beautiful campus-based institution in London and Medway with around 20,000 students. Founded on an ethos of ‘no limits’, the vision is to empower both students and staff to explore new possibilities, unbound by conventional wisdom and artificial boundaries. As a small company with an almost identical philosophy, we were excited to support UoG working in partnership to ensure future students can experience that too.

Embrace the power of the student voice

When StudentCrowd first started working with the University of Greenwich in November 2020, they were rated number 79 in the StudentCrowd UK university league table (based solely on verified student reviews) and had just 39 reviews on the platform. The university were confident that they were delivering an exceptional student experience and have worked with StudentCrowd to optimise their profile and maximise review generation activities. Channelling their student feedback through our platform has allowed them to truly amplify the voice of their often delighted students.

The review generation campaign

  • A social media campaign
  • Raising awareness across the Students' Union
  • Email campaigns
  • On-campus presence at Graduation days & Employability Fairs
  • Utilising the Student Ambassadors to encourage other students to review

Why is ongoing review generation important?

When students are reading reviews, we know that they are interested in authenticity and variety of voice: they are seeking real experiences that address their individual needs and concerns. They are also looking for those reviews to be highly relevant and very recent. A recent review will always be seen as a more accurate reflection of student experience. To ensure student decision-making is at the heart of our platform, we have a sophisticated algorithm to rank HE providers in our league table based on the ongoing number (variety of voice), recency, and authenticity of reviews. This means our league tables adjust and update all the time as reviews are left by students, meaning ranks are a reliable and trustworthy reflection of what students are experiencing right now.

greenwich-uni-case-study

What were the results of the review generation campaign? We mentioned that the University of Greenwich were #79 when they started working with us. So what is their position as we approach the 2023/23 recruitment cycle?

  • More than 250 reviews were generated in 18 months
  • Now achieving an overall rating of 4.48/5
  • Ranked #2 university in the UK
  • The University of Greenwich knew they were delivering on student experience. They just needed their students' voice to let the next generation know.

Authentic review generation adding real value to students

Introduction

Abodus Student Living operate affordable, stylish and quality student accommodation across the UK. They pride themselves on their outstanding reputation and experience high retention rates as a result. They understand the importance and impact accommodation has on students' studies and work hard to ensure their residents have the best experience with them.

At A Glance

Challenges

  • Implementing a consistent approach to generating regular reviews across the portfolio
  • Gaining insight into the 'real' student experience

Benefits

  • Increase in rating and reviews
  • Outstanding student experience evidenced in reviews
  • Ability to build trust with students at a key decisionmaking point

Goal

The focus has been for all sites to get regular, authentic reviews that are helpful to prospective students and add real value. It is not about being ranked number 1 in the league tables, but about being able to give rich peer-to-peer advice to support their decision-making.

Action

Abodus have run regular competitions for the site teams, offering a reward to the team who receives the most reviews. StudentCrowd supports Abodus with competitions by supplying collateral for their teams to use on site.

Results

A recent competition generated 95 reviews across their portfolio in 1 month. Abodus’ average review score over the last 12 months is 4.40 out of 5 stars and as a result of good quality, authentic reviews, they consistently perform well on the platform, receiving a high level of traffic and referrals.

“At Abodus the authenticity of our student reviews are an integral part of our strategy. We want to know our customer experience as it allows us to get a better understanding and enables us to improve the service we offer." - Aaron Kirkwood, Senior Sales & Marketing Manager

What makes a Good University Great?

Across the sector, Loughborough is synonymous with providing an excellent student experience. At StudentCrowd, we have been consistently impressed with Loughborough's commitment to hearing their student voice and we believe that it’s this commitment that has allowed them to rise to the top of the StudentCrowd league table for the last 3 years!

After becoming a StudentCrowd University Partner in 2017, Loughborough have worked with StudentCrowd in increasingly creative ways, really embedding the idea of co-creation at the heart of their activities and always ensuring that their student community is at the forefront of decision-making.

Results

In the last 12 months, 84,751 unique users have read reviews on Loughborough’s StudentCrowd profile. 2020 applicants reported ‘online reviews by other students’ as the second most important resource in choosing which universities to apply to (UCAS new Applicant survey 2020). Loughborough has engaged with these reviews to great effect, which we’ll explore throughout this case study.

University is more than studying

Embedding video content within their profile has truly brought the Loughborough brand to life, allowing researching students to get a more immersive sense of what it will like be for them to be part of the Loughborough community both on and off campus. It is conveying this sense of ‘fit’ and ‘feel’ that makes the critical difference for students deciding between their options.

 

what-loughborough-like
reply-on-studentcrowd-website

Your loudest voice is not your own, it belongs to your students!

This sense of community and commitment to giving their student body primacy is carried over into their use of our Reply-to-Reviews and Respond-to-Questions tools. Loughborough have consistently demonstrated, not just a willingness, but an active encouragement of their student ambassadors' involvement. So whilst members will respond to process or support style questions and reviews, they will often get student ambassadors involved in more lifestyle responses. 

Bringing the partner into partnership

One of the most exciting expressions of the student-first approach and how well this partnership works is that Loughborough have been the first university partner to get involved with our Student Enterprise Challenge. This is a two week challenge where StudentCrowd deliver skills development sessions to budding entrepreneurs who then pick up the mantle to deliver a two-week marketing campaign on behalf of their university aimed at generating reviews. It’s a virtuous circle that provides great real-world experience to the students involved and generates additional reviews, strengthening the student voice for Loughborough. A recent participant in the Challenge said this:

"The StudentCrowd digital marketing experience gave me an intriguing insight into the world of digital marketing and gave me the foundations I needed to carry it out myself. It was fantastic to form a team and collaborate on such an engaging project together and I truly looked forward to every session."

This is just one of many ways that StudentCrowd and Loughborough have worked together to encourage authentic review generation.

So what's the secret?

The secret is simple. To begin, it is important to acknowledge that your students have a voice and that your future students want to hear what they have to say. When you listen to the honest and live feedback of your current students and are courageous enough to engage and act on it, you demonstrate your university culture to your current and future students.

Putting this at the heart of their strategy has seen Loughborough perform outstandingly and consistently on StudentCrowd. This has allowed us, in partnership, to optimise how we co-create expressions of that voice.

What’s brilliant about this ‘secret’ is that it doesn’t need to be rocket-science, nor does it need to be time consuming. We at StudentCrowd can be extra hands to make the work light and are always willing and excited to work with our university partners in new and creative ways. Developing and running value-added services such as the Enterprise Challenges is just one of the examples of what is possible.

 

loughborough-review

 

How Manchester Metropolitan Gained 374 StudentCrowd Reviews in 1 day - gaining 12 places in the university league table

Manchester Metropolitan has been a partner of StudentCrowd since 2017. The university uses the platform to gather feedback from verified students, respond to their queries and reviews, provide valuable information about open days, facilities and student life, and enable prospective students to click through to their website to continue their research.

We recently worked with BAM Agency to facilitate an in person review collection event at Manchester Metropolitan’s campus. StudentCrowd ambassadors set up a candy floss stand at the Manchester Metropolitan University Business School with poster boards with QR codes encouraging students to review their university experience. The ambassadors also handed out business cards with links to our review form.

Students praised the diverse and friendly student community, the fantastic support that they receive from staff and the great campus facilities. By facilitating this event, StudentCrowd ambassadors were able to engage with students in a relaxed environment to find out what was most important to them. This ensured that each individual student felt their voice was heard and accurately represented on the StudentCrowd platform. To learn more about how you can maximise review opportunities, speak with a member of the StudentCrowd team today.

f4f4a9fe-5963-4e3e-955c-5e19163f4835