Property Website Gives Campus Experience Without Leaving Home
DENTON, TX—When it comes to technology, student housing has always been savvier than most of its commercial real estate counterparts. But one property management company has teamed up with marketing firm Catalyst to entice students to choose to live at 33 Degrees North, a local project of Fountain Residential.
Grand Campus Living tapped Catalyst to develop a website that would give the viewer a look at life in Denton, and reflect the local attitude of “live what you are.” The student housing community serves students at the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, with an aggregate of 50,000-plus students.
The website uses social media—a second home to most college students—to show would-be residents how living at the community would fit into their lifestyle. Specifically, student can log into the site through their Facebook accounts, and see a personalized site that borrows pictures taken from users’ own Facebook pages. In essence, the site uses Facebook Connect to personalize the user’s surfing experience, something not before seen in the industry, according to John Kerrigan, CEO of Catalyst, which specializes in student housing.
College students use social media so much that it makes sense for student housing communities to use it to market to students seeking apartments, he relates. Today's college students want to see how they fit into the larger community and social media provides a way to let them experience it. “This is the first of the kind in the industry and is leading the trend to make the brand experience move beyond the real estate and into a true community-building portal,” Kerrigan says. “The technology allows us to provide enriched experiences for future residents and current residents.”
Just as important as luring them in, adds Grant Chambers, Interactive Lead for Catalyst, the social media aspects of the website are leading to longer visits on the site. “The website does a great job of encouraging visitors to familiarize themselves with the property,” he said.
Currently under way, the 427-bed 33 North—named after its latitude, 22 degrees North—will debut next fall. It is located at 919 Eagle Dr. here, adjacent to the fraternity and sorority area of the University of North Texas.
Being built by KWA Construction, the five-story project will offer one- to four-bedroom floor plans with individual bathrooms, granite countertops, clean-steel appliances and 42-inch flat screen tvs. Common space will feature such luxury amenities as a fireplace, café, fitness center, infinity pool, outdoor deck and tanning rooms.
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