The classic image of student travellers is hulking backpacks and wild, frat-like parties in every town. And, whilst this cliché may be true for a small corner, the image of the student is changing. They are technologically advanced, using devices to research, compare and book their trips in advance. They know the value of their business and will strive to get the best price. They know the value of their business and will strive to get the best price. Imposing rental agreements, having clear guidelines for your tenants and having comprehensive insurance will protect you from the nagging concern that student travellers are going to be more trouble than it’s worth for you.
Youth, student and educational travel now accounts for almost 25% of the entire tourism market. Whether travelling to new universities, or taking a break somewhere between terms, students are a powerful market. Not only are they impressive in their sheer numbers, but the things they look for when travelling make them very well suited to vacation rentals and they cannot be ignored. Vacation rentals are affordable and memorable, seemingly custom designed for the needs of student travellers.
Here is our six-point guide to understanding and appealing to the Student Traveller:
Travelling in Groups of Friends
Students often travel with groups of friends and will be looking for larger accommodation, with more separate rooms than hotels or traditional holiday lodgings. This is where vacation rentals are perfectly suited. Broadly speaking, groups travelling are going to be more concerned about find accommodation for all their friends and less focused on hotel type services or amenities. Vacation rentals can often provide a amazing accommodation for groups, at a similar cost to an average youth hostel.
Generally speaking, most students have to travel on a budget. Keep this in mind when marketing to students. Students are often given a 10% discount on things as an incentive and recognition that they are a price sensitive group. There are sites and blogs devoted to the best accommodation. Sites like these will often feature businesses that offer this discount. It is one of the quickest, and most effective ways of establishing your business as ‘student-friendly’. Lots of places offer this discount but fail to advertise it. If you plan on offering this, make sure it is in a prominent place in your site and mention it across social media.
Students have long summers and long holidays. Despite periods of intense studying, there are lots of time in the year when students have more time off than full time workers. This means that there are periods of general low demand in which students will have the time to travel. Times like this are ideal to market to students or offer promotions. Check standard times and use social media to broadcast your offers.
Students are part of the next wave of travellers that want one-off, unique experiences. They want to stay somewhere that they have never seen before; the sort of place that doesn't exist in every city or country. Booking vacation rentals is a great opportunity to do this. No two are the same. Highlight the individuality of your property. This also lends itself very well to sharing on social media. Think of students as a great way of getting your business exposed to more young people.
As well as booking shorter holidays, some students may wish to book properties for a number of months whilst they study abroad or go on longer trips. These times are likely to be outside of your peak seasons as they will need to be in term time rather than during the busy holiday periods. If you have long periods with few bookings, check student accommodation sites and you could end up with a long term guest, filling your calendar in quiet months.
These are just some of the things that student travellers look out for, and some suggestions on how to market to them. Whilst it’s natural that students will enjoy the space and value that vacation rentals provide, having a few extra touches can make your business that little bit more appealing to this huge swathe of the tourism industry.