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Getting to know Londonist Accommodation Agency in London

Published on Thursday, February 15, 2018

In today's interview we spoke to Anna Bonisoli Alquati, Head of Client Management and Marketing at Londonist Accommodation Agency based in London, UK. We've had the opportunity to meet Anna at various workshops and events during the last year and we have to admit that she truly is a superb lady who's fun, charming and super-efficient and motivated at the same time. So it's time for you to get to know Anna and Londonist a little bit better too....and let us say that you will certainly not regret it! :)


As an accommodation agency based in London, how important would you say it is for students to study in London?


In addition to the strict academic aspect that such an experience entails, studying in the UK means moving to an Anglophone country, beginning a new and exciting path. Having to speak English every day for your studies and everyday life is a challenge and an important proof of maturity: you radically change your habits and invest yourself in a future perhaps more uncertain than those who which remain in their country of origin. The UK and London has always attracted students from all over the world, and this has helped create a social fabric formed by multiple cultures and traditions that help them to deal with diversity by getting in touch with an incredible number of people. For all these reasons, I strongly believe an experience in London can open incredible opportunities and can take people out of their comfort zone. This aspect is also important for personal development and growth.


In your opinion, what makes Londonist different from other accommodation agencies?


We always try to go to the extra mile for our clients by giving an excellent customer service and bespoke approach. We can provide students with short and long-term accommodations according to their requirements. We like to assist them even after they check in into the property as most of them are new in London and need help to integrate and familiarise with the new environment. Furthermore, we have a wide range of accommodations that allow us to please every kind of client. We can also customise solutions and keep a high level of flexibility for the students.


Over the past couple of years, especially, we have seen your organisation present at all the major industry workshops and events. How has this experience been for you?


It is always a very rewarding experience as we get to know several professional and companies and always establish very meaningful and positive partnerships. Industry workshops and events represent an important part of our marketing activities: in the last two years we have attended over 20 events and in 2018/2019 we are planning to attend more. This gives us the possibility to reinforce our partnerships and bring the Londonist brand everywhere.


What other global marketing activities do you participate in?


In December we were shortlisted as finalists for the “best marketing” category at the British Youth Travel Awards 2017 and regardless of the outcome of the competition, which was great – a bronze award - we are very proud of all our global marketing activities. We bring the Londonist brand to several countries through events and industry fairs and together with it, we aim to promote the youth travel industry in the United Kingdom and London. We invest on digital marketing, Facebook campaigns, sponsorships and offline marketing and we have also developed two different applications, eGenius app and My Londonist app, which are both available on Apple Store and Google Play.


We are living in a world in which change, and cultural differences seem to be the order of the day, and often, a source of conflict. How does Londonist, as an organisation in a multicultural industry, based in a cultural melting pot such as London, look at all this?


Londonist is itself a melting pot as its staff is multilingual and coming from different countries. We look at this incredible multicultural industry with pride and optimism, as differences are always inspiring and a remarkable resource for innovation and business development. For example, we have staff in charge of Asia, Russia and Latin America.


What are your plans for the future? Do you have any new developments in the pipeline and in which countries/cities?


For the future we have a few new projects which would enable Londonist to fulfil the increasing number of requests we are receiving both from agencies globally and local institutions in the UK. As the number of students to the UK is increasing, Londonist also envisages the growth so we have started to look at new properties to partner with us. For example, the Latin America market and Russian market has developed which has made us expand our portfolio. Furthermore, we have recently increased our accommodation options, from 10 student halls to over 12, making the portfolio even more competitive and diverse. We have acquired a new development very close to Manor House Station, 1 min walking distance, with newly refurbished enquites and studios, for both professionals and students.


You are the Head of Client Management and Marketing in Londonist and joined the company in April 2017. How the company has changed since you joined it? And which are the main objectives for 2018?             


Since I started, we doubled the staff and now we represent a very exciting mix of cultures and different backgrounds. Our team is growing significantly however our main objectives never change: delivering great customer service in a friendly and highly professional business environment. Keeping our standards high and always improving ourselves, as we never finish to learn and progress.


The new academic year 2018/2019 is just around the corner. How are you preparing for this? Any special offers that our clients need to know about?


First, we are going to reward the rebookers with extra services and this will be possible through, for example, special vouchers they are going to spend on eGenius concierge app. Soon we will be launching a campaign on all our digital channels and we’ll keep our audience constantly updated about new services, student accommodation options and fantastic benefits. Furthermore, as we receive many requests in the summer periods due to it being the peak season, we have recently increased the capacity by 30% in a residence in Central London

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