While investment in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) dropped back in 2023, forecasts from JLL suggest that a recovery could be on its way in 2024 as sector resilience, growing demand, strong occupancy and potential for rental growth bolster investor sentiment.
It may be a good time to invest, with available stock available for sensible prices, but how the site is managed is just as important for good return on investment. Getting it right when it comes to managing your buildings is crucial, as this generation of students (and their parents) will likely be very vocal about anything amiss. Student accommodation reviews are ultimately how many students make their decision about where to live, so getting it right is important given annual tenant turnover.
Parcel management and logistics is just one part of the picture when it comes to managing a PBSA property, but it is essential for keeping things running smoothly. The wrong set-up can be labour intensive, time-demanding and expensive, alongside creating an unsafe or undesirable environment for student tenants – many of whom will be living away from home for the first time. It requires due time and attention, especially given the amount of inbound mail and deliveries students are likely to receive.
The growing problem of parcels
In 2022, the UK shipped, received and returned 5.1 billion parcels – the equivalent of 76 per person in the UK. Many of these will have been received by students: gifts from home, home furnishings to make their rooms cosy, new outfits to impress peers. The growing preference for online shopping will only increase in time, piling on additional pressure to the facilities managers and site management services that are essential for keeping student housing running smoothly.
With even small properties taking in thousands of parcels each year, having an efficient and safe system is critical. There has been an alarming rise in parcel theft in the UK, particularly in densely populated urban areas like London – including at student sites. According to research MyPup conducted last year, around three in 10 (31%) of those living in student housing have experienced parcel theft in the past 12 months. As a result of increasing theft, students – many of whom are living away from home for the first time – are becoming fearful and frustrated.
Increasing instances of parcel theft also raise the wider issue of property safety. While missing parcels may seem like a relatively small issue in the grand scheme of things, the psychological impact has the power to affect your property’s reputation and desirability. Safety concerns can quickly snowball and play heavy on the minds of your tenants; if someone is able to enter the property and steal parcels, they could also try to access their rooms.
A parcel management system could address this issue. MyPup consolidates all parcels for one building or site from all delivery companies at a separate location before one courier delivers them in one go to secure parcel lockers. This means that instead of 10s of couriers coming in and out of the building, you’ll receive just one, which relieves pressure facilities staff as well as keeping your properties more secure. The high-tech parcel lockers MyPup installs in the building also keep parcels safe and secure until residents are ready to collect using their unique code.
With MyPup taking full responsibility for the last mile, it makes it easier to manage deliveries into the building, resolve issues with missing parcels and keep students safe – freeing up facilities managers to focus their time and energy elsewhere. Not only does this provide a better service for your building residents, it also shows that you take issues that are important to them seriously, increasing resident satisfaction and reducing the likelihood of bad reviews that could result in vacancies at the start of the next academic year.
Addressing growing environmental concerns
While safety is perhaps the most significant concern, students – and young people generally – are much more likely to care about their environmental impact and will often make brand decisions and life choices based on this.
Many students could be attracted to housing that offers a service that aligns with their goals and values, like MyPup, which is a B Corp and saved nearly 150,000kg of CO2 in 2023 – the equivalent of more than 1,000 flights between Amsterdam and London – as a result of reduced traffic and emissions. Some buildings have even been able to receive innovation credits under BREEAM.
How MyPup works
While you must show plans for sustainability at the point of planning, this often falls down the list of priorities once a building is up and running. When your property receives deliveries for hundreds or even thousands of residents, you could have multiple vans from every single delivery provider arriving each day, which increases emissions and creates more pollution around the site that could be hazardous to your tenants.
MyPup receives all parcels destined for the same building from all courier services at its hub, before delivering them to secured parcel lockers via carbon neutral transport. These parcel lockers can only be opened by a unique code that is shared with the resident by app or email, depending on their preferences.
With so much competition for good quality private student housing, investors and management companies need to make sure they are doing what they can to set themselves apart from the competition. MyPup is already working with real estate companies like Greystar in the UK, taking full responsibility for the last mile, and making it easier to manage deliveries into the building, resolve issues with missing parcels and keep residents safe. You, too, can protect parcels, tenants and the environment with MyPup’s unique service.