Moving in residents for the new school year is typically the most challenging season on a student housing manager’s calendar. In a matter of days, arriving tenants transform properties from a state of anticipatory stillness into a teeming hive of carts, boxes and people eager to settle into their units and connect their devices.

“Students are sophisticated, high-volume Internet users,” observes Alfredo Zavala, an account coordinator on Pavlov Media’s account management team. “They expect to be connected to the Internet almost before they arrive.” 

“An Internet service provider that addresses residents’ Internet connections and questions directly can remove a substantial burden for student housing operators, particularly during turn,” says Zavala.

Pavlov Media has been helping management teams at the properties it serves to navigate resident turn for years. As the nation’s largest private provider of fiber-based Internet and video services to off-campus student housing, the Champaign, Ill.-based company can provide an experienced perspective in planning, as well as field technicians and technical support to help new residents register and connect their devices upon move-in.

“The property managers are going to be dealing with so much already in that critical move-in period,” Zavala says. “We begin work in advance and have everything in place to get new residents up and running on all their devices quickly. That makes us one less thing on the property manager’s plate because we’ve handled it together ahead of time.”

In addition to easing the workload and hassle for property staff, having residents work directly with Pavlov Media’s technical support resolves issues faster and ensures they are receiving maximum connectivity on each device, resulting in better user reviews for their service and the property in general.

Start Early

Students place high demands on their Internet connections for everything from online browsing to classes, video conferencing, work-from-home connections, voice calls, messaging, music downloads, streamed video and multiplayer online gaming. With so much of the resident’s experience riding on their Internet connection, Zavala recommends that property owners contact their Internet service provider to discuss student turn before scheduling other vendor activities.

“Property owners are going to be dealing with a lot of other vendors before the new semester to replace appliances, repair drywall and other maintenance,” he says. “We can work with owners to locate or relocate some of our equipment, for example, and coordinate our work to be complete before any painting or remodeling.”

Zavala’s team begins emailing clients several months in advance to start a conversation about the landlord’s expectations for turn. Key questions include the number of incoming residents and dates when move-ins will begin, peak and taper off for the upcoming season. The company uses that information to adjust work schedules as needed to staff its technical support center during peak demand.

To guide residents in connecting their devices on move-in, the account management team prepares printed flyers tailored to each client’s property and Internet service package. These handouts tell residents which Wi-Fi network to access and where to find their password, which may be printed on a label in their unit or issued during online registration, for example. In properties that provide more than one connection type, flyers outline available options, such as a hardwired connection or 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi. Flyers also include instructions for connecting a variety of personal devices.

Perhaps most importantly, the flyers direct residents to contact the technical support team as their first response to connectivity issues or with questions about their Internet service. To underscore that Pavlov Media is the residents’ go-to resource for technical support, the company can provide an onsite field engineer or other staff on peak move-in days. Available at a manager’s request, this can help residents remember to take their broadband issues directly to Pavlov Media technical support (instead of to property management).

During initial planning, the account management team will ask how many flyers management will require and set a delivery date so the printed materials can be included in any welcome packages the management team may be assembling.

On the peak days of turn at a student housing community, property managers can expect to have their hands full. But with an experienced Internet service provider at their side to take charge of getting new residents online, and with the engineering and technical support resources to address connectivity issues as they arise, turn can be a smooth experience for residents and the property team alike.

 By Matt Hudgins. This article was written in conjunction with Pavlov Media, a content partner of Student Housing Business.