The User Forum2018 - blog banner

In October we opened the doors to the Kinetic User Forum 2018. The 3-day event welcomed over 250 university and event professionals to Warwick Conferences. This year’s event explored a variety of thought provoking sessions from industry leaders covering topics on student accommodation, health, well-being and mindset, and the impact of the commercial sector.

78eccff9-50a0-4408-909c-238467902d7dDay 1

Wednesday 17th October saw the launch of our brand-new certifications programme. Attendees were able to choose from 5 different tracks and spent the day with one of our trainers, learning the ins and outs of the system. At the end of the day they were certified in their chosen track.

In the afternoon there an option to complete two additional tracks, before heading towards the networking buffet for some delicious food and wine!

Day 2

On day 2, all 250 delegates gathered for a packed schedule of insightful and inspirational presentations that focussed on common business challenges. To kick the day off, Rob Turner, Managing Director at Kinetic, shared our exciting future and how we planned to achieve our goals, and even ran through the crowd handing out cupcakes!

DSC_1014Following on from Rob's session was mentalist (yes, mentalist!) David Meade. In his hilarious and thought provoking session, we were taught how the way we think and act everyday can be changed and altered to improve our mindset. David put this research into practice and shared insight on how motivation works, the decisions that achieve engagement and how to develop a performance mindset.

Lee Rawlinson, Head of Accommodation at the University of Liverpool, was next on stage to discuss the conclusion of a recent cost/benefit analysis on the commercial viability of a number of their hospitality offerings... This was the story of the most expensive cup of tea in the world!

After a quick catch-up with peers and a refuel, we were joined by Kevin Stuckey, Director of Commercial Services at the University of Kent, for the battle between student and commercial teams. Student departments have one set of goals and priorities, conferencing departments another. With experience in both departments, Kevin was able to share the secret sauce to the perfect strategic alignment.

Next up, we welcomed James Murphy from HubSpot. 

HS flywheelHe shared insight on modern marketing and how to use the latest inbound methodology to attract students, convert them to customers and have them as brand ambassadors. 

The methodology which was once known as ‘the funnel,’ is now known as ‘the flywheel.’ 
The methodology behind the flywheel is that customers (existing students) should no longer be at the bottom of the funnel and instead should be nurtured and delighted. This will allow them to become brand advocates for the university.

After James' session, David WilkesFormer MD of Occam Systems and Client Services Director at Kinetic, discussed the future of technology for higher education how it's constantly evolving. 

The final session of day 1 featured our very own products team. Over 700 suggestions have been submitted to the Kx Ideas Forum since we introduced it just over a year ago. Throughout the session, our team revealed some of the most requested ideas that will make their way into future release.

After a jam-packed day of insight, inspiration and knowledge-sharing, we hosted the Big Kx Party! After a delicious 3-course meal, Luke Warren, Head of Sales and Account Management at Kinetic and other members of the Kinetic team announced the 2018 winners.  

  • Bright Ideas - James Mourby, Sanctuary
  • Big Deal of the Year - Lee Rawlinson, University of Liverpool
  • Commercial Team of the Year - Keele University
  • Student Team of the Year - University of Warwick Student Team
  • Kinetic Legend - Kevin Stuckey, University of Kent

Day 3

First up, Tim Daplyn, Managing Director at Red Brick Research, presented brand new research on the

5 impact of accommodation on student well being. Tim revealed that students who are unhappy with their accommodation are 10x more likely to feel negative about their whole university. 80% of students surveyed said that their accommodation had a direct impact on their well being. This goes to show the impact that the student accommodation strategy and operations has on the overall university.

Next up we welcomed Bertie Van Wyk, Workspace Specialist and Wellness Advocate at Herman Miller. Similarly to Tim's session, Bertie discussed well-being but in the workplace. He covered the ways in which we can create workplaces where employees will reach their full potential. 

Following on from a coffee break and bite to eat, attendees split into commercial and student streams to focus on what really matters to them. The student stream welcomed Mike GrayHead of University Partnerships at Gradconsult, to talk about the power of mindset and why motivation and determination is so vital in the 21st century. He went on to explore the challenge of media narrative behind student success.

The commercial stream welcomed Natalie Williamson and Clare Forster from Academic Venue SolutionsWith marketing budgets continuing to decrease and targets on the rise, Natalie and Clare discussed the ways commercial teams can do more (and create more revenue) with less. Seemingly making the impossible, possible!

The next student stream session focused on the future of student accommodation. The panel included Christine Kelly, Head of Revenue and Occupancy at University of Edinburgh, Vikki Welch, Head of Accommodation at University of NottinghamSioned Cash, Operational Planning Manager at University of Warwick and Lee Benning, Head of Marketing at UniLife. Traditional student accommodation services are growing and changing, what was offered 5 years ago is much different to today. Our experienced panel explored the traditional student accommodation services, what we are seeing right now and what we can expect to see in the near future. 

The final commercial stream was focused on commercial revenue generation, presented by Quinten Gazendam from SmartHotel. He discussed how automatically generating commercial revenue using under-utilised space is a key goal for many conferencing dependents.


Throughout the event, attendees were able to visit the exhibition which included a number of our partners; 
Counter Solutions, Pay to Study, Western Union, Academic Venue Solutions, SmartHotel and Celcat. Our service and product zones gave people the opportunity to learn more about the new Kinetic Academy, as well as speaking to our support team and finding out more about Kx products.

If you were unable to attend the User Forum 2018 this year, don't worry! We're back next year for something even BIGGER and BETTER! And you can even register your interest to host the event. Simply email for further details.