That Was 2020
Last week ASK4 Director Jon Thornhill, Sales Director Oliver Riddle, and International Strategic Account Manager Billy Kontoulis, attended The Class of 2020 Class Conference in Amsterdam. Hosted in the impressive DeLaMar Theatre, the conference brought together leading experts, stakeholders and service providers in the European student accommodation sector. Following a fascinating two days, the team shared their highlights.
What did you think of The Class Conference experience?
OR: This event is now maturing into a very important and useful date in the calendar - rich in business opportunities and covering virtually all territories and aspects of accommodation provision. The location and venue were spot on.
BK: We have come away with a lot of follow-up work to do having made many positive connections.
What were your highlights?
JT: The conference was invaluable for meeting with individuals from such a wide and varied cross-section of the student accommodation market place, and for understanding more of the complex cultural challenges in different European countries.
BK: It was definitely good to learn about the work of UAF: The Foundation of Refugee Students, and the capacity within the student accommodation sector to help student refugees. An eye opener.
What were your “take away” points?
BK: There is a genuine need for substantial growth in the student accommodation market across much of Europe. It is exciting to see so many providers eager to develop attractive service offerings and to differentiate their brands. ASK4 has a real opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the growth of modern, fit-for-purpose accommodation services. There is already an understanding that Internet services are of paramount importance to student residents, but not necessarily an understanding that this is best delivered by specialist providers.
JT: As mentioned by several of the speakers, students value access to the Internet more than any other key part of their accommodation experience.
OR: There is a clear desire in many European metropolitan areas, such as 'greater Amsterdam', to create student accommodation for the good of the cities / regions in question. Encouraging undergraduates to study in these cities is going to be key for their development and growth. In fact, some quite alarming figures were shared in terms of what will happen if students cannot be encouraged to study in these cities and what that could mean in terms of a shortage of graduates. There was also a clear feeling that the refugee situation, continually in the news, could and should be looked at by student accommodation providers.
Cycling with Student Source
If one stereotype is true, it is that the Dutch quite simply love their bikes, and The Class Conference saw ASK4 give away a Quella bike. The bike was generously donated by our friends at Student Source and the lucky winner, Manel Bassols - Director at Agora BCN, is soon to be cycling round Barcelona!
Our thanks to all at The Class of 2020 for an excellent 2015 Class Conference.