Student property search website Accommodation For Students has appointed digital agency Code Computerlove to support its ambitious plans for growth and continued global expansion.
Free for students to use, the site attracts more than 3 million visitors a year, with around 35,000 private UK landlords currently registered and a choice of more than 325,000 rooms.
The brand first expanded its services to overseas students in 2009, and is now available in 16 countries, including USA, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, India, South Africa, China, Japan, Korea, Russia, UK and Ireland.
Following a management buyout earlier this, Accommodation For Students founder and chief executive Simon Thompson is now looking make it available in all university towns and cities worldwide, overhauling the digital platform to create a best-in-class user experience and improved CRM operation.
Thompson said: “Like many legacy internet businesses that have experienced continued, fast paced growth, we have found ourselves at a point where we need to make some significant changes to our digital platform to engender our commercial ambition. The key focus is to introduce new features that will make it even easier for students to find the right accommodation that meets their geographical preferences and budget; the aim is to increase conversion from search to sign up.
“Similarly, there will be major advances made to the interface for letting agents, landlords and Private Hall providers, facilitating multiple property uploads, quality representation of properties/rooms and slick operation of their accounts. International expansion will also continue as we look to grow our current international offer and replicate the success achieved in the UK in our overseas territories.”
Thompson added: “Code has a proven track record of delivering large-scale platforms and business change systems and, through its work with the NUS, knows this audience well. The agency demonstrated not only creative and user experience expertise but a capability to support our operations and commercial functions. We believe very strongly in providing the best possible service to our students, landlords, agents and Private Hall providers and I’m confident that further investment in our digital capabilities will cement our position as the number one student property portal, not only here in the UK but globally.”
Rob Jones from Code said: “We will be introducing the latest technologies and most relevant digital techniques to get the most out of the new fully responsive platform, prioritising the mobile experience. Our digital roadmap has been defined by extensive research into the needs of all users of the site. With student search in particular, there is a trend for research and decision-making as a group and this is something we’re giving precedence to with clever collaboration features. Similarly, the student-to-student search facility is extremely popular on the site and is something we’re looking to make more of.
“We will be applying our product thinking approach to the digital change programme, working in rapid cycles to develop and publish new user features and customer experiences focusing on the most visited and commercially important sections of the site. Iterative releases will be continually tested with further iterations on the live site based on these insights, gained with real users.”
Accommodation For Students is based in Didsbury, Manchester, and currently employs 30 staff.