Clearing is one of the most important times throughout the year for higher education institutions. According to UCAS, more than 70,000 students were accepted through Clearing in 2020 and we are looking at even higher numbers in 2021. In fact, National Clearing Survey results suggest an increase of a whopping 38%!
With the Clearing deadline quickly approaching, we have put together a few tips on how to make this process seamless and stress-free for your accommodation teams.
Allow students to take control of their journey with you.
You heard it right, and we know it’s scary. But think about the amount of admin time it will save you! By allowing students to select their own accommodation, you can save all the precious hours allocating them through the back-office. Plus, self-serve models will only become more popular in the future with 79% of consumers saying that they’ll continue to use self-checkout or increase their usage after COVID-19 (McKinsey). So, it’s a win for your long-term strategy, not only the Clearing process.
Always keep advertising in mind.
No matter what part of the application or allocation process we’re talking about, always ask yourself – are we advertising our rooms in the best way possible? What will make our rooms stand out from competitors? Is our accommodation a game-changer? Because it may very well be! This is an extremely important tactic during the Clearing process.
Imagine a student comparing two courses that may have similar learning objectives and even similar ranks. What will the prospective student look at next? The university’s ResLife and accommodation is a huge part of their search. Presenting your rooms in the most attractive way is the key here - images, videos, 360 views and detailed descriptions will do the trick! Plus, it will improve your conversion rate as according to Forbes, Gen Z only have an 8-second attention span so your window of opportunity to impress them is very small.
And don’t forget, if a student doesn’t get into their desired university, they have an option to defer, and your accommodation might play a huge role in this decision, especially with a guarantee to stay on campus the following year. You might keep a student long-term even if you would lose them for this academic year.
Utilise data wisely.
You know just how crazy the dataflow post A-Level results announcement is! To stay on top of that data, you need to increase the frequency of the student registry feed which can be achieved through your existing student interface with your student accommodation solution. This will ensure you can quickly confirm any additional allocations. Speed is of the essence here, and that’s exactly what the increase in frequency of the student registry feed will help you address.
In addition to this, data will help you to spot trends in your selling process. Are all rooms selling in the same way? Have you spotted that, for example, studios are especially popular lately? This is your chance to stay agile and act quickly on adjusting your strategy in order to improve occupancy in years to come.
Keep on top of your waiting and drop-off lists.
You might be one of the lucky accommodation teams who achieved full occupancy already. That’s amazing! Whether you’re one of the lucky ones or still waiting for the additional bookings, make sure you’re staying on top of your wait and drop-off lists so you can allocate additional students quickly and seamlessly. In Kx, you can use student searches and student preferences, in addition to the bedroom plan and user-defined fields, to make this process quick and easy for your teams. Less admin for your teams means more focus on student experience.
Maintain student communication throughout.
We probably don’t need to explain the critical importance of communication, especially with your students. For example, informing them about the number and types of rooms up for grabs is critical not only during the application process but also during the Clearing process. This is a very important step in the journey which also contributes towards great student experience and creates a sense of urgency - a great marketing move! This can be achieved through mass or one-to-one mailing directly from your student accommodation solution. The more rooms you have allocated before the Clearing process begins, the less stress your team will have to experience during it.
We hope you found these tips helpful. It’s all about decreasing admin time and increasing your occupancy levels! And don’t forget, we at Kinetic, are always happy to help you with more support and advice, not just during the Clearing process but throughout the whole year.
We wish you all a great Clearing 2021!