It is one of those pivotal times of year in the student calendar, when hundreds of thousands of budding undergraduates submit their applications for their preferred UK universities – the first official step for many in the process of planning their future in higher education. During the next five months, there will be a flurry of studying, exams, decisions and choices, and once university places are signed and sealed, attention will be turned to the crucial choice of student accommodation.
Finding the right place to live can make or break a student’s ability to settle at university and any help given to young people to ease the decision making could be key to them choosing the perfect home. Student accommodation expert, Fresh Student Living, provides homes to more than 5800 students, in 17 university and college locations across the UK and it firmly believes that where a student lives is a critical part of enhancing the university experience.
From en-suite shared flats to studio apartments, Fresh Student Living uses the latest technology to make the selection process as easy as possible. Its online student accommodation booking system is live 24 hours a day, and can be accessed anywhere in the world via its website. To aid their decision making, students can view details such as who has already booked a particular room, or if they are planning to live with friends there is a facility to set up a group booking.
For the 2015 intake, the technology behind viewing accommodation is being taken to an entirely new level as Fresh Student Living has developed a partnership with LiveSpace, the specialist developer of fully-interactive 3D visualisation software for the property market. The new advanced technology means that students seeking accommodation can now see fully interactive views of the property, viewing life-like details of individual room types and accommodation options, either online on via an app.
Dr Stefan Fafinski, managing director, LiveSpace: “Today’s students are very much part of a digital generation who do everything online, and this technology will give them that same level of insight and convenience when choosing their university home. Visiting a property is not always practical, particularly for students located a long distance away or overseas, and the LiveSpace system is as close as it gets to viewing the accommodation in person.”
The LiveSpace system provides the ultimate tool for online viewing and interactive visualisation and gives students with the ability to virtually look on the website or app before they book. A key function of the app is that it allows students to look round accommodation that is still in its construction stages. Where developers would usually rely on show apartments or marketing suites to demonstrate the finished property, the app enables students to view the building and its individual rooms while it is being built. For existing properties, opportunities to tour the accommodation are limited once it is occupied, however the LiveSpace app provides 24/7 availability to both new and established buildings.
Students can also gauge the opinion of friends or relatives, as the properties of interest can be added to a favourites list and shared on social media channels, and to avoid any disappointment of missing out on the more popular properties, students can be alerted if their preferred accommodation is about to sell out.
Fafinski said: “It is effectively a 24-hour shop window, users get an actual first-hand view of rooms and apartments, and then quickly and easily book their preferred accommodation via the Fresh Student Living website. Students can apply, pay and complete the documentation simply and electronically.”
The student accommodation management company selected this innovative technology to increase off-plan lettings and improve the overall student experience.
Students planning their university lives for the next three years have a tough few months ahead before they make their move in the early autumn. There may be months of uncertainty in the pipeline, however, when it comes to accommodation, this new 3D visualisation technology is one element that will reassure students during their decision making.