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Letting Student Accommodation To The Chinese Market: Your WeChat Marketing Strategy Advantage | Viva City

February 23, 2023

In recent years, Western countries have experienced a remarkable increase in demand from Chinese international students looking to further their studies abroad. 

With the pandemic subsiding and China’s economy gradually opening up, 2023 may see pre-pandemic levels of students returning to their favourite Western study destinations. 

In this article, we'll explore how WeChat can help support your marketing strategy, as you offer PBSA to the Chinese market.

Chinese Demand Fuelling Demand for UK & Australian Purpose Built Student Accommodation in 2023

According to bonardeducation.com, a recent study of both Chinese students and parents concluded that Australia is fast becoming the most popular study destination post-pandemic.  . 

Tim Klitsher, managing director of Yugo - a global provider of student accommodation - has corroborated the increase in Australian demand by stating that vendors are racing to build more developments to cater for the massive demand.   

Read more at theurbandeveloper.com

The UK also boasts some of the most renowned Universities in the world: According to Chinadaily.com:

 “[In 2022] Chinese students have consistently shown interest in studying in the United KIngdom despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Education experts believe this trend will continue to grow as Britain grows to become the top study destination for younger Chinese”. 

Combined with the growing strength of the Chinese Yuan against Pound Sterling, the Chinese student market is expected to regard tertiary education in the UK highly in the coming years.  

An Opportunity for UK and Australian PBSA Vendors

Suppose you are in the UK/ Australian PBSA space. In that case, the projected influx of Chinese students presents some significant opportunities for 2023 - universities are struggling to keep up with demand, giving you a clear gap to cater to the market.

But, as an overseas vendor, how do you connect with Chinese audiences before and during tenancies? 

When crafting a competitive market strategy tailored to a Chinese-speaking audience, the most powerful tool is clear - WeChat.

In 2022, WeChat's monthly active user count, dominated by Chinese, stood at 1.26 billion active users(no-follow). Tencent’s flagship is undoubtedly the most remarkable example of a super-app.

Chinese consumers consistently favour the platform for all their online needs, making it essential for vendors to understand the platform’s significance when courting new Chinese audiences.  

Almost all Chinese WeChat users use it as a social operating system where they handle everything from payments, e-commerce, bookings, food and beverage orders, e-hailing, news, daily content and primary communications. 

As a vendor, WeChat’s wide range of online marketing functions give you the ability to engage a Chinese audience by delivering top-tier customer experiences, all in one app. 

WeChat: The #1 Platform for Marketing to Chinese Consumers.

A consistent presence on the WeChat platform is an essential component of any marketing strategy aimed at qualitatively engaging your ideal student audience.

Vendors who invest in mastering WeChat marketing see sustained successes in this market - as demand for student accommodation is expected to rise over the next ten years, WeChat marketing will become essential.  

Here are the first steps to getting started on WeChat:

Setting Up and Verifying Your WeChat Official Account

Like Instagram and Twitter, WeChat gives brands the ability to set-up verified marketing channels - an Official Business Account gives you access to a wide range of advertising capabilities on the app. 

There are three main Official Account types to choose from: 

Service Accounts

These service focused accounts. You can publish long form content up to four times a month. You also get access to Push notifications, and content is visible in WeChat’s chat feed

Subscription Accounts

These accounts are content-focused: vendors' can serve content daily, but unlike Service accounts, content is stored in the Subscription folder found on the Chats page. 

Enterprise Accounts (WeChat Work) 

These accounts are for internal business purposes with a focus on communication or organisation functions. 

Setting up a Mini Program

WeChat’s MIni Program functionality gives you more power over sales pipelines, acting as a data capture and lead generation utility - these light-weight applications can be used to create personalised customer experiences. 

By deploying a Mini Program, you can also easily keep track of the quality of user experiences by monitoring user data: Mini Program Analytics give your team access to rich data about your customer base. 

This data can then be used to build more effective, targeted campaigns.

Using analytics, you can track:

  1. Number of monthly visitors.
  2. Which channels new visitors frequently convert from. 
  3. How long visitors engage. 
  4. Where visits come from in terms of location. 
  5. What pages visitors browse.

In Summary 

Official Accounts enable your content marketing to make the most impact. Much like a brand Facebook page, a WeChat official account makes the publication and promotion of content from a central point incredibly easy.

Mini Programs can be utilised to bolster your brand's WeChat conversion capabilities and, as a result, provide significant opportunities when building effective sales funnels on the platform.

For more in-depth guidance, read our article on WeChat Social Media Marketing(do-follow link). 

VIVA CITY: Your WeChat Marketing Advantage

It is no secret that the Chinese student market is competitive. Without help, western PBSA vendors fail to make the desired impacts. 

So, having a customer-journey oriented sales strategy needs to be top of mind for success. 

At VIVA CITY, we give you complete control in one, no-code application, supplying you with the tools you need to provide top class customer service to your Chinese customers.

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