Housemates is today launching a revolutionary end-to-end student accommodation platform, allowing students to book and operators to take bookings in just minutes, rather than weeks. It will be the fastest, simplest and most secure booking option in the USD $180 billion global purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) market.
Housemates’ innovative technology enables operators to manage multiple bookings at scale on one SaaS-based platform and allows students to view and book secured accommodation in just a few clicks.
The company’s vision includes powering a global ecosystem beyond its own marketplace utilising its booking engine to help operators take bookings via their own branded pages which can be used across multiple sales channels. The end-to-end platform will increase conversions, lower operators’ costs and provide valuable insights on booking behaviour.
Housemates also facilitates occupancy management, ensuring operators can manage bookings and availability and set rents and booking periods – all through the Housemates Occupy dashboard. The company is removing the need for operators to use outdated lead generation platforms, which makes filling occupancy more predictable and faster all at a much lower cost than any existing competitors. Housemates only charge operators 20 per cent of the first month’s rent on a complete booking, with no extra fees or hidden costs. This means the total fees are typically less than 2 per cent on successfully completed bookings compared with 3.5 – 20 per cent with other routes to market.
For students, the marketplace will provide a secure option to book accommodation quickly, safely and with full transparency. Student accommodation is often the most expensive transaction young people will have made in their life so far, and this can be especially daunting for students coming from overseas who are particularly vulnerable to fraudulent activity.
Action Fraud issued a warning to students in particular in 2018 after reports found prospective renters and students in the UK alone lost £22 million to rental fraud in the four years running up to the end of March 2018. Housemates onboards trusted accommodation providers, takes holding deposits so there is no need for students to be directed elsewhere, and processes all transactions through FCA-approved providers.
Housemates’ research revealed that the average time students spent researching, viewing and booking accommodation was five and a half weeks, particularly for international students who cannot view in person. This new hotel-like booking engine provides a quick solution which will reduce the booking time, eliminate painful waiting and allow students to rest assured that their accommodation is secured, ready for them to start the exciting new phase of their lives.
The coronavirus pandemic has seen operators struggle to deal with unprecedented circumstances, and a faster more flexible solution is required going forward. Through Housemates’ technology, operators have the flexibility for a bespoke approach with demand planning, differing rental periods and pricing. This can all be handled within the Housemates technology and will help future proof customer operations.
Housemates is currently raising a seed round to further fuel its growth. The company is initially launching in the UK and Ireland, with thousands of units secured from multiple providers. It is set to expand internationally in 2021 with partner backing from other student-first key players in the industry that will help to further the brand’s reach.
Lydia Jones, Founder and CEO at Housemates said: “We’re proud to have built a robust platform that will not only be time-efficient and ease anxiety for students but will also help eliminate legacy PBSA operator issues such as poor conversion rates, expensive leads, difficult occupancy management, high workloads and dealing with outdated information. For operators, this is the Shopify of student accommodation with the benefit of a marketplace too. PBSA is a $180 billion global industry, and with this platform operators now have the flexibility they need, and the transaction process is streamlined so that accommodation can be booked on the spot, with no middle-men, expensive commission or subscription fees. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that both students and operators need flexibility and adaptability, and our technology is a huge step in transforming the industry on a global scale and helping it to bounce back.”