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Education agents missing out on untapped market

An untapped market exists for specialist student accommodation agents, new research has found.

Cohort Go’s survey of 651 international students found that most were only partially satisfied with their accommodation, giving a poor satisfaction rating of 57 out of 100.

Most of the international students (60.4 per cent) lived in private rentals. Surprisingly, just 8.4 per cent of the students lived in student accommodation while on-campus accommodation accounted for just 5.8 per cent of the group.

Cohort Go CEO Mark Fletcher said the research highlighted a gap in the student accommodation market and an opportunity for education agents.

“With the student accommodation market in Australia rapidly expanding, international students are an increasingly important segment that must be accommodated for,” he said.

“Our research shows that these students are underwhelmed by their current, mostly privately-rented, accommodation – a 57 per cent satisfaction rate is something any industry would be concerned about.

“The homestay market continues to have an important role to play, but with fewer than one in 10 international students staying in student accommodation, and only 5.8 per cent living in on-campus accommodation, there is a clear opportunity for providers to grow their market share.”

The survey results highlight an untapped market for education agents, with global real estate provider Savills showing that international students added 10,850 new beds in Australia between 2018 and 2019. This trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

The way international students find their accommodation in Australia further reinforces the untapped potential of education experts.

Currently, only 12 per cent of international student accommodation is booked by an education agent, with most students (39.4 per cent) booking directly with the accommodation provider. Mr Fletcher believes education agents could play an important role in connecting international students with more suitable options.

“Key to improving satisfaction is the ability to connect international students with quality accommodation ahead of their arrival in Australia. There is a big opportunity for education agents and providers to work together to showcase the best that student accommodation providers have to offer,” he said.

“Accommodation is often a key factor for an international student’s overall study experience, and by working together to offer a great place to stay at a fair price, providers and education agents can ensure Australia continues to be a top study destination for a huge range of international students.”

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