Market Demand Research
Servitas approaches each project with thorough market research. Servitas has a long history of evaluating trends and conducting research that informs our higher education partners’ process for evaluating specific needs and student desires for student housing. We assess a project’s technology needs and ensure the development will offer residents the best and latest resources to meet their academic and living needs. For nearly 20 years, Servitas has conducted resident satisfaction surveys, ensuring everything — the building, its amenities, its programming, and more — meet students’ demands and wishes.
Servitas’ consulting practice helps colleges and universities determine the feasibility, costs, configurations, and future demand for student housing and related buildings. We provide circumspect analysis and insight and plans and solutions deeply rooted in practical, real-world experience. We base market analyses and feasibility studies on an integral research method that accounts for all facets of campus life. We apply lessons, information, and knowledge from our direct management partner, Servitas Management Group (“SMG”). SMG’s collaborative relationship with Servitas enables our housing studies to serve as market-based decision support tools and project implementation documents. These can be leveraged to expedite project planning, budgeting, and delivery with greater accuracy.
Vision and Values
Servitas typically initiates consulting engagements with a kickoff meeting of stakeholders to fully discuss project direction, duration, intended outcomes, and the context within which a Feasibility Study will be used. We explore a school’s history, traditions, vision, mission, goals, and objectives as they relate to housing, on and off campus. We discuss the role student housing plays in shaping current and future culture and student experience. We also seek to understand the value systems, generational identity, and the decision-making processes that already exist. Immediately following a kickoff meeting, we develop and conduct a student satisfaction, preference, and demand survey that utilizes a web-based survey instrument, face-to-face interviews, and/or focus groups. The survey will examine the level of student satisfaction with their current living arrangements, their price sensitivities, perceptions about on-campus living, preferred living configurations, etc. We can create, host, and administer online surveys and conduct focus groups wherein the specific demographic profiles of the respondents are collected. This ensures the survey data obtained are statically valid and represent the current student population.
Programs and Plans
While Servitas conducts the student survey, we can also review the university’s academic programs, strategic plans, capital improvement plans, and facilities master plan to gain a better understanding of current and future space utilization, capacities, and expansion goals. We will work to understand the correlation between degree programs, enrollment trends, and physical plants. We can also explore the relationships between existing and planned academic programs and the living/learning requirements for on-campus housing. Servitas includes a list of select amenities for possible inclusion in any new campus-related residential facilities in all related discussions and surveys.
Enrollment and Economics
Determining the underlying factors that attract students to a university, influence their decision to attend an institute of higher learning, and seek campus housing are critical research criteria. Servitas reviews enrollment history, trends, projections, tuition, fees, living expenses, and student aid. We consider how the current macroeconomic climate influences enrollment and on-campus living decisions. We conduct a review of current university housing and compare it to occupancy trends and future enrollment projections. To establish benchmarks, Servitas compares and contrasts enrollment and economic trends among peer and competitor institutions. Servitas then works to establish the capture rate, demand estimates, and economics of any future housing. We survey numerous student groups to understand desires and price sensitivity to living off
campus versus on campus. With cooperation from the university, these groups can include feeder high school students, incoming freshmen, current students, new graduates, and young alumni.
Conditions and Costs
The nature of the off-campus (external) housing market and the condition of existing on-campus housing factor in the decision to add additional student-focused housing. To aid in this decision, Servitas performs a full evaluation of comparable, local, off-campus housing. Our analysis includes a full list of properties that house students, a table of the unit types/configurations available at those properties, their occupancy levels, and corresponding rents. This evaluation also includes those properties’ amenities and the relative advantage of each property relative to other off campus offerings and campus proximity. Servitas reviews parking conditions, availability and proximity to existing housing facilities, and determines the scope of required additional parking if new housing is added to campus. Depending on students’ on-campus presence and availability – holiday and summer breaks can delay survey responses – Servitas’ market studies generally take up to 90 days to complete and compile.