Revolutionising Student Living: The AXO-Lavanda Partnership

Thomas Bush reveals insights on AXO's innovative journey with Lavanda...
An Interview With... Thomas Bush Sales and Marketing Director (1)

An Insightful Conversation with Thomas Bush of AXO Student Living

Thomas Bush, the Sales and Marketing Director at AXO Student Living, shares an insightful perspective on the transformational journey AXO has embarked upon, in partnership with Lavanda. Known for their commitment to providing premium, flexible, and value-driven student accommodation, AXO Student Living has been at the forefront of adapting to the changing dynamics of student housing needs in the UK.


The Catalyst for Change

The partnership with Lavanda emerged as a strategic response to unprecedented challenges. Reflecting on the outset of this collaboration, Thomas recounts, “During the immediate weeks after my appointment with AXO Student Living, the pandemic made it exceedingly difficult to maintain occupancy. We recognised the need to open ourselves up to as many avenues as possible to generate revenue.” Lavanda distinguished itself not just through performance but through their supportive processes, becoming the clear choice for a long-term partnership. This move was not merely about filling rooms but about launching a flexible living strategy to mitigate the risk of unpredictable circumstances.


Overcoming Obstacles Together

AXO’s ambition to be a leader in the PBSA sector comes with its share of challenges. Thomas elaborates, “The number of units in our portfolio can sometimes pose a challenge in offering the degree of flexibility and customer diversification we aspire to.” The collaboration with Lavanda has turned these challenges into opportunities, especially during periods of uncertainty like the global lockdown. By converting some properties into ‘hotel models’ year-round, they significantly offset the pandemic’s adverse impacts on occupancy and revenue.


Expanding Horizons with Lavanda’s Technology

Lavanda’s sophisticated platform and resource flexibility have proven essential. Thomas notes, “Lavanda’s technology… give us something in our arsenal that we simply would not manage on our own due to the complexities of .” This technology facilitated effective multi-site management and a variety of targeted marketing strategies, tapping into the tourist market and students seeking short-term, casual residences. This approach not only diversified AXO’s customer base but also maximised revenue and occupancy through dynamic rate adjustments.


Data-Driven Strategies and Operational Excellence

Reflecting on the benefits of the partnership, Thomas highlights the strategic value of data: “After working with Lavanda for a number of years, we’ve amassed a considerable amount of historical data.  This enables us to strategise more effectively how we configure our rooms during the academic year.” Lavanda’s operational support has been transformative, alleviating the pressures of daily management and housekeeping, thus ensuring operational efficiency without overburdening the in-house team.


Envisioning the Future of Student Accommodation

Looking ahead, Thomas envisions a sector ready for evolution, with a shift towards hybrid accommodation models. “Our partnership with Lavanda has already offered us a glimpse of this future,” Thomas claims. This collaboration exemplifies how technology and innovation can enhance the student living experience, meet emerging needs, and anticipate future trends.


A Blueprint for the Future

As the student accommodation sector stands on the brink of significant transformation, Thomas Bush and AXO Student Living, in collaboration with Lavanda, pioneer a path forward. Emphasising the power of innovation and adaptability, Thomas concludes, “Together, we’re not just addressing current market needs but also shaping the future of student living.” This partnership stands as a testament to the transformative potential when creative thinkers unite to transform the standards of student accommodation in the UK.

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