PigiaMe, a leading online classifieds site, has introduced a student housing category. This first-of-its-kind service integrates photos and Google Maps to facilitate the process of finding suitable accommodation.
With the expansion of universities and university colleges, the demand for student housing has been on a sharp rise in the past 5 years, according to figures from UNESCO. Additionally, the government’s policy to increase student enrolment in universities has not gone hand-in-hand with an expansion of accommodation facilities. Currently, all public universities have a bed capacity of 280,000 against a demand of 769,000 students. On the other hand, self-sponsored students, commonly known as parallel students are not entitled to housing on campus and private universities have limited housing facilities. As such, the demand for student housing has surged significantly.
In countries such as Germany, flat-share is the common mode of living for students. Wg-gesucht.de, the website which helps students in Germany find accommodation, is bigger than some corporate websites in Kenya. According to SimilarWeb, the website receives roughly the same amount of traffic as Nation Media Group’s website, the biggest news website in Kenya. However, locally, universities and colleges have commonly offered housing solutions through hostels. With the rising enrolment numbers for students in institutions of higher learning, this model of accommodation has proven to be inadequate and this is where private housing facilities come in.
Traditionally, students have only been able to get information about available housing facilities near their campuses from friends, relatives and lists offered by universities. These sources are, however, not detailed and they are often biased.
Many students have to travel away from home in order to access higher education and without on-campus accommodation, and they have to rely on private housing alternatives. This creates a problem for first-timers who do not know how and where to find reliable housing facilities.
The New Solution
To ease the struggle of finding reliable accommodation, PigiaMe has partnered with leading housing providers near universities, to bring students reliable housing facilities. This partnership is set to make it easier, and faster for students to find suitable hostels by simply using their phones.
The new service provides a detailed map that shows all the available hostels near your campus, their detailed descriptions with information such as prices, and real images that give you a glimpse into what the hostels look like.
A first of its kind, this service solves the problem of having to look for hostels physically, which can be tiresome and you often have no way of finding reliable information. To curb this problem, the service integrates a map feature, which is merged into Google Maps and is also very clear on mobile phones. This feature gives you clear directions to each hostel and allows you to accurately visit the premises hustle-free.
As an added advantage, you can also get to compare prices of all the facilities in your preferred location, allowing you to plan your budget accordingly. Different facilities charge different prices based on location and services offered. The ability to compare prices, therefore, makes it easy to choose a facility that is affordable yet convenient to the student. The images provided also help you in making an informed decision about the facility you are interested in.
This new service allows students to first take a virtual tour of all the facilities in the vicinity without the trouble of having to go there physically.
In addition to this, you get to choose from the many sharing options offered by the available list of service providers. This means you can choose to have a room of your own or share with 2, 3, or more people, based on your preference.
With more than 200 listings in this category, the service is now a market leader for the student housing category. These listings are from across the country and they cover hostels near all universities. All these facilities are in close proximity to the campuses, which gives the students a chance to make a choice based on their preferred location.
Speaking about the new category, the CEO of PigiaMe, Mr François de Chalendar said “This is a unique service that will enable students to get access to safe and affordable housing facilities at their fingertips. We acknowledge the pain students and their parents go through while trying to find suitable accommodation and this new service will help them get exactly what they need, when they need it.”
Mr de Chalendar also added, “As the demand for student housing rises, there is need to provide solutions that cater to this rise and we are at the forefront in offering the best services in this category. We have seen tremendous growth of the category in the past 2 months with more service providers enrolling on our website. There is also increased traffic from students viewing the facilities and finding suitable accommodation and we are excited to see that we are tackling a real problem.”
This exclusive service will go a long way in solving a problem that has been a nightmare for many parents and students, who have previously had no reliable point of reference on housing options. A first of its kind in Kenya, the resource will give students a one-stop-shop for all the information they need to make informed choices.