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Londonist Student Accommodation Asia Business Trip

Published on Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Londonist Team is really unstoppable. Back in February Londonist's Asia Sales Executive Umang visited 4 countries in 3 weeks. He had so many business meetings for their student accommodation agency and at the same time he took some amazing pictures.


The Londonist team asked Umang to write about his business trip and today we would like to share it with you. Happy reading!


"Hi, my name is Umang, and I am the Sales Executive for the Asia market at Londonist. On the 1st February 2018 I departed for a 2-week business trip to Asia. The purpose of the trip was to meet current and new potential clients for our student accommodation agency. With my background being from an Indian family and having spent two years living in South-East Asia, I was confident in meeting clients from this region as the business culture in Asia is quite different to Europe.


Londonist as a brand is ever-growing and it was evident from this trip that Londonist is now being recognized as London’s top student accommodation provider. Having a strong and reputable name is important for any company in any region but especially in Asia where client recommendations from the accommodation industry and their reviews are so important.




The purpose of my trip to India, Delhi was to meet one of our top client University Living, a student accommodation agency. The Director, Saurabh Arora had visited London two weeks prior to my visit but it was important for myself and Londonist to visit the team in India who we correspond daily. Having not visited India since 2007, I was excited by the opportunity to visit Delhi for the first time and to meet the University Living team.


Firstly, I had a meeting with Co-founders Saurabh and Mayank to see how we could develop this strong relationship and how to continue doing business in the future. One aspect that University Living prefers about Londonist is the time to respond to requests as this is vital in the student accommodation industry with students wanting to book certain rooms straight away.


In India, they usually work on weekends and Saurabh stressed the importance to know the most up-to-date room availability on Fridays so they are able to work efficiently and convey the available rooms to students on Saturdays. We also discussed our mid-term goals for the Summer and University Living are keen to take on a certain allocation in our new residence for the Summer, North Lodge.

After my meeting with the Directors, I gave a product knowledge presentation to the University Living Team. Saurabh had informed me he would like myself to give his staff more in-depth knowledge of the Londonist brand and products. Everyone in the market before knowing our services believes we are just a student accommodation provider which is not correct. Londonist provides a personalized service to students for accommodation as well as other services such as serviced apartments and airport transfers. Some of his Sales team did say they did have requests for serviced apartment bookings in the summer but were unaware Londonist offered this. Therefore, this shows how important product knowledge is in any company.




Having studied in Taiwan in 2011, I was excited to go back to Taiwan for the St Alphe Conference in Taipei. The Study Travel Alphe Conferences are annual workshops for educators and agents in the study travel industry across the globe.


I was very confident going into the scheduled appointments made for the two-day meetings as I could use my Mandarin. Having previously worked in an English Language school for three years recruiting students from Asia, I had an in-depth knowledge of the market in Taiwan.


Unlike Mainland China where the biggest trend and market patterns lean towards Junior Summer Camps, Taiwan is highly focused on Adult students looking for general English, IELTS and University Pathway courses. Therefore, this makes Taiwan a highly lucrative market for our student accommodation agency as many of these students prefer to study in Central London and need an adequate place to stay.


From my meetings in Taiwan, it is evident that the UK is still one of the most desired destinations amongst Taiwanese students, despite popularity growing in the USA and Australia. Although there were some requests for homestays, most of the agents were very impressed with two aspects of Londonist. The first was the diverse nature of our rooms from studios and en-suites and the second was the options of locations Londonist has to offer.


This is important as many agencies told me the most important part of the student accommodation for a lot of their clients is location and convenience to their schools and universities. With Londonist being able to offer 14 different options, the agents who I met were keen to work with us.


The final feedback from Taiwan was that most students prefer student accommodation residences but some of the students are more price sensitive which Londonist can accommodate with options such as en-suite rooms in Stratford and Station.




Going to Thailand, Bangkok was another opportunity to meet more agents from Asia at the second Alphe Conference destination. The overall feedback from the meetings in Bangkok was very good. Unlike Taiwan where most agents enquired about long-term bookings, many Thai agents were interested in short-term bookings. Therefore it is so important to attend these events and meet different people as the market trends are always changing and it is good to know first hand from this agents and counsellors who are dealing with the students.




The final conference was with ICEF in Dubai and it is fair to say the Middle Eastern market is quite different to that of South-East Asia in terms of what the agents require and requests. From the two-day meetings, it is apparent that many agencies were asking about accommodation for students and also tourists or family packages. Unlike Thailand, the booking requests are long-term.


Like the previous conferences, I had many agents visit the Londonist stand to take information and our brochure as they were interested in student accommodation in London.


Most the agents were interested in the higher end properties like Kings CrossSpitalfields and Aldgate. Many of the agents did ask why Londonist wouldn’t expand our property portfolio to other cities in the UK but I explained how we are focused on providing the best accommodation and service in Central London.



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