What makes a good operator?
Today I met with another Student Accommodation team and they asked me what I felt were the key skills for a good operator? It got me thinking, the student accommodation sector has changed dramatically over the last few years and is almost unrecognisable from what it was. With major investment into the sector and the development of new state-of-the-art buildings there is now a major contrast between operational standards; so what does good look like?
For me, it doesn’t matter how good the building is and if it hosts state-of-the-art equipment, it is the people that make a building, they create that sense of community and excellence in student experience. I am big fan of customer service and I think it goes a long way in what makes a good operator. It is the little things that make a difference. Running student accommodation isn’t like a normal building, it can be extremely fast paced with a multitude of things happening at any time, so you need to be able to keep up and a sense of humour is a must.
Personally, I don’t think you have to have previous experience in the sector and some of the strongest operators started their careers in something completely different. But one thing that they hold in common is strong emotional intelligence and the ability to identify with the students’ needs and that they are fundamentally a customer.
With strong investment continuing over the next few years, I think that we will continue to see innovations and everyone striving to standout.
Hayley Mintern, Director (Estates and Facilities Management).