Service Excellence Awards 2006: Winner - Retail & Consumer Services

UNITE GROUP PLC

Going to university can be a daunting prospect for many students, not least because it can mean leaving home for the first time. Too often, freshers arrive with nobody to welcome them or show them their new accommodation and how everything works.

This was one of the observations that inspired this year's Retail & Consumer winner, Unite Group, to develop its 'student hospitality' concept. A new student going to Bath Spa university volunteered to be filmed as she arrived, providing Unite with ideas for how they could make the experience a lot better.

Now, new arrivals at Unite's 110 properties across 30 university towns are likely to be greeted with balloons, jugglers, porters ready to carry their luggage, hot food and a special service that introduces them properly to their new home and its facilities. By the time a new student has checked in, their bags have already been delivered to their room.

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