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About 6 months ago I came across NIDO Student Living, a Student accommodation brand looking to create a truly differentiated student living experience for their tenants in London. With close to 3,000 residents across 3 sites (Noting hill, Spitalfields and Kings Cross) the student accommodation sector is finally getting a reboot.

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View from NIDO (Kings Cross)

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View from NIDO Nottinghill

With a leadership team that wants to shake up the category, NIDO is on a mission to create an experience that is witnessing the rebirth of the Spittalfields property. With a brand new coffee bar that looks like it belongs to a posh high street in West London (and get this – it sells by far the best bubble tea in London – hint: Ask for the Lychee Milk with black tea). There is great anticipation amongst the students of a Karaoke Room which has been backed by a leading NIDO agent from China (OSL). The team really know their customer and tenant demographic and have a finely tuned ear for what needs to change and rapidly.

Insight: With state of the art Karaoke systems for both English and foreign language content the Karaoke rooms at NIDO are poised to be an instant hit in 2015. Building culturally tailored experiential programmes is key to better serving ket customer segments.

The coming year is going to see an entire experiential programme unfold for the residents, reinforcing a brand that is looking to go way beyond its core offering, accommodation to add value and enrich the lives of its customers and residents.

Walk into the Spittalfield’s property and you hear the soothing noise of expert fingers gliding across one of the many piano’s scattered around the property and there is a real buzz afoot as school is back in session and all the students are back in action once again. Seeing the accommodations in person makes me want to go right back to University again. Great partnership potential exists for both brands and educational organisations that can see the NIDO experience in line with their own goals of engaging with the power of the future global elite.

Insight: With an increasing number of Chinese students hitting UK student residences there will be a renewed stress also on staff and their ability to leverage and communicate to the audience in Mandarin.

Insight: Chinese social media channels are also different from those prevalent in the west. Youku for instance is the dominant video player platform. Whether its the Singles Day (11-11) or the Golden Week it will becoming increasingly important for hospitality resources to be clued into expected behaviour.

Institutional investors in commercial real-estate would be well placed to understand the difference between commodity student accommodations that provide a low risk annuity cash flow to one like NIDO which delivers on its experiential promise and creates a stickier product which generates and keeps greater enterprise value.

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