Spotlight On: Dan Baker

What has your company been up to in the past 12 months?

The last 12 months has been an incredible time at We’ve spent the time breaking records and pushing boundaries in the student accommodation sector. We’ve grown our booking numbers by triple digit percentages in some destinations, booked tens of thousands of students into accommodation and simply had our busiest and best year yet. We can’t wait for 2020 to start and what that will bring as we enter exciting new markets like India and Spain.

What are the current or emerging trends within your sector?

In the student accommodation world the high growth in new accommodation types in Purpose Built Student Accommodation – such as studio, flatshare, co-living etc – has transformed the way students live in recent years. Choice has opened up possibilities for students to find their perfect home away from home. What we are seeing shifting the industry is post study visa. The power they have to transform the UKs competitiveness on a global scale in higher education is huge, so there is a lot of focus on that topic. Finally, we are seeing a growth transition of students who are switching from studying in the US to the UK and Europe because of political motivations in the US. This is an interesting trend to watch, and as always with global politics – who knows what’s next!

How does your role support the business?

My role as General Manager, EMEA, at covers a wide breadth of activity – managing the marketing, supply, bookings and HR finance team that are based in the UK and other countries outside of China – including Australia, Europe and the US. We are a constantly evolving team and business, with our start-up culture very much still apparent eight years later, so no two days are the same.

What has been your career highlight to date?

I count myself very lucky to have been able to travel the world as part of my job. Getting to travel to destinations such as Australia, Singapore, Dubai and China has been brilliant – experiencing different cultures, and seeing the famous sights. However, let’s not forget the travel closer to home, like Swansea, which was amazing this summer as it happened to fall on the two sunny days we had this summer!

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

If you fail, fail fast and move on.

Where is your favourite place to travel to?

It has to be Italy – for pizza, pasta and skiing, in that order!

If you were not working in this sector what other industry would you have pursued a career in?

The original dream was to have a world-acclaimed football career. But that bubble soon burst in my younger years when I realised Wayne Rooney – who was the same age as me – was better than me at football!

What’s next for your company?

From a market perspective, we are looking at India, Spain and France – so our focus in ensuring we can better support students, landlords and build our networks in those regions.

Find out more and connect with here

Dan also serves on BETA’s Board of Directors, a voluntary role, nominated by members to help set policy and strategic direction for the association.

Published 10 December 2019