The Challenge Chester Student Lets (CSL) are a student accommodation lettings agency with big ambitions. With increasing competition, they wanted to differentiate themselves in their local market place as a professional brand centered at the very heart of their local student and landlord community.
CSL were keen to invest in a new user-focused digital presence to help re-launch their brand. They wanted to develop an integrated offline and online community that would have game-changing results, not just for their business, but the local students and landlords too.
Building the sense of community was paramount for this digital project and so ensuring that the website offered a positive user experience was vital.
Chester Student Lets wanted to make it as simple as possible for students to browse and register their interest for a property, and similarly for landlords to understand CSL’s fully managed services.
As part of the UX phase we identified 15 user personas (internal and external to the business) to ensure that user journeys were optimised within the design and development process.
Our creative team also worked really hard on evolving the company's visual identity and new brand online that gave Chester Student Lets a fresh, new modern look that was appealing to their customers and really stood out from the competition.
The Student log in area included a variety of useful features to make renting with CSL a pleasurable experience. Functionality including bookmarking properties, logging maintenance requests and paying bill were designed to help students easily self-manage their own property and documents. Additional features in the log in area include personal and general message notifications, as well as community message boards for tenants, for example to help them promote a room for rent.
At DotLabel, we made a number of additional online and offline suggestions to help develop this sense of community, from content strategy recommendations which included the launch of a ‘Life as a Student in Chester’ and a local places to visit guide, to branded key rings for students to get discount from local retailers.
In the first six months since launch Chester Student Lets recruited 9 new landlords in comparison to 3 in total last year. With each new landlord adding up to 5 new properties each this is a huge increase to the Chester Student Lets portfolio.
Chester Student Lets have concluded that if this growing interest from Landlords remains they will recruit 600% more landlords in 2016 compared to 2015.
The new website has allowed Chester Student Lets gain a competitive edge with their digital presence, branding and community orientated website. We've continued to work with Chester Student Lets on multiple projects since the site went live and are excited by the new trusting partnership that has been built.
The new site is so easy to use that it’s a genuine pleasure. The amount of pain and grief we used to endure with the old site has meant the new site has paid for itself tenfold in just staff happiness levels!
Danny, CSL Managing Director
The website has really helped position CSL as a real market leader in the Chester area. We are now speaking with a number of companies about managing their premium halls of residence properties something that we would never have been considered for in the past.
Jools, Brand marketing & change manager