Global Student Accommodation

One platform, multiple brands

The Student Housing Company

One platform to power GSA's multiple student accommodation brands

The student accommodation platform challenge

Global Student Accommodation (GSA) own a number of student accommodation brands, across multiple countries, and needed to have an engaging website presence to increase bookings across all brands, managed by a centralised team.

Their challenges included;

  • Multiple brand identities, each brand needs ability to adopt platform 
  • Disparate content editors across multiple countries
  • Organic SEO very important in hyper-competitive market
  • Each region requires different content, offers, imagery etc
  • Multiple languages requirement for future-proofing

Understanding student accommodation brands

Being fully immersed in GSA’s brands; Student Housing Company and Uninest was imperative to the success of this project. We used our fast paced Immersion Phase Process and undertook a series of workshops to ensure that we are immersed in the brand, their vision and business goals, enabling us to identify where we can add the most value.

Research activities

  • On campus surveys
  • Hotjar polls to gather quantitative data about current site likes, dislikes
  • Qualitative long form data on requirements, behaviour, etc

Experience design activities

  • Prioritise users
  • Prioritise user needs
  • Build initial user flows
  • Content mapping 
  • Discuss look & feel
  • Vision board

Technical activities

  • Functionality review
  • Config overview
  • Technical spikes planning
  • Integration requirements


Student platform technical approach 

A Drupal multi-site approach was chosen as we could retain the same functionality across the individual brands (search, booking, data capture etc.) while keeping separate URLS, front-end design, config and files and user profiles for the administration by the differing brand teams.

Key benefits of our multi-site Drupal approach;

  • A single codebase, making core updates and introduction of new functionality quicker across the websites (and any future) websites
  • Multiple databases, meaning that site structure, configuration, content and users can be configured per site
  • Content can be shared across multisite instances using API’s
  • Cascading themes make it simple create sites using the same base theme and then override relevant styles as appropriate
  • Reuse of hosting infrastructure leads to a reduction hosting costs if sites hosted separately, or an improvement in performance over multiple separate sites hosted on a single server
  • Lower total lifetime cost to maintain one codebase

Powered by Drupal, the new GSA platform is secure and able to power the existing brands, while remaining flexible enough to scale for future acquisitions

Jonathan Smith, Managing Director Catch






regions EMEA + APAC

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0207 494 3554