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The Student Hotel delivers first phase of digital transformation programme

The Student Hotel has completed the first phase of its digital transformation programme, designed and implemented by digital experience agency, Rufus Leonard. The result is a new website, built on Episerver and React that delivers a differentiated brand experience for a complex mix of hospitality products and an enriched booking journey for student guests.

The headless content approach future-proofs the site, and enables The Student Hotel to create and manage content in the Episerver CMS and serve it to any number of channels: website, apps, voice interfaces, hotel lobby screens, in-room TVs and more. The digital design language also adapts seamlessly across these channels, providing The Student Hotel community with a consistent look-and-feel across all touchpoints. The experience is underpinned by an innovative hybrid hospitality UX that is user-centric and goal-orientated rather than one-size-fits-all.

The site is built from ~50 UI components across ~10 templates and features dynamic contextual navigation, single page application, SSR, CDN caching and seamless 3rd party integrations. These features add up to a fast, dynamic and fluid digital experience despite its rich-content. The Student Hotel’s choice to build using React puts them in good company alongside Airbnb, Dropbox and Netflix, who all use React JS libraries.


Mark Liversidge, Chief Digital & Experience Officer at The Student Hotel: “As we rapidly grow and build our global community, so does our vision of creating purposeful connections, lifelong curiosity and learning. We needed an agency partner that understood this vision and could translate and engineer a digital experience connecting us, our customers, community and our built spaces. We found this in Rufus Leonard, who had the proven credentials to engineer our core digital platforms to deliver our desired distinctive experience. This milestone is the first step in our digital transformation from offering a collection of individual products, to a seamless lifelong customer experience integrating a complex mix of hospitality products, lifestyle services and learning experiences. The solution delivers more than an enhanced brand experience, including significant operational efficiency, scalability and – critical in these times – speed to market.”

Laurence Parkes, CEO at Rufus Leonard: “The Student Hotel already had a strong personality, a distinctive tone of voice and a proposition that was disrupting the hospitality industry, but they needed a partner that could define and deliver a meaningful experience across their digital ecosystem. We used our Experience Playbook process to create an inspiring blueprint for creating The Student Hotel’s industry-leading digital experience. Among other things, it outlines the impact of hero moments on the bottom line as well as the technical infrastructure needed to deliver them. Once we had the Experience Playbook in place, we delivered the first phase of The Student Hotel’s transformational digital ecosystem, their dynamic global website. This is just the beginning of a very exciting and innovative journey.”

Pioneering a next generation hybrid model in hospitality, TSH is an urban regenerator, partnering with cities to create new communities based around a blend of co-living, student and hotel accommodation with co-working, private office and meeting spaces, enriched with lifestyle options across wellness, entertainment, events, bars and restaurants.

The new website launch is the first milestone of an ambitious programme of work to deliver next level digital experience at all touchpoints, including a new app for guests which will transform the full customer journey from arrival to lifelong connection with the growing global community.

The launch comes at a time of success for Rufus Leonard. The agency is an Econsultancy Top 100 Digital Agency, Top 10 Design & Build Agency and won Best Digital Agency at the 2019 Digital Experience Awards, as well as four 2020 Transform Awards for work with London Business School and ARU.