We conduct annual commercial services benchmarking and ad hoc research into the campus experience. Members can also find relevant HE and business sector research in our Resources.

Members' Resource Library


2022 CUBO Benchmarking Report

 Key findings

  • Data was provided by 68 institutions, although not all institutions responded to every question.
  • Covid-19 had a clear impact upon income across the sector since March 2020.
  • Total commercial income as reported by 49 institutions for 2020/21 was £638.5m. This equates to an average mean commercial income of £13.0m per institution and a median average of £10.6m.
  • Residential income constituted 84% of commercial income (previously 64% in 2018/19 figures), with 11% from catering activities (including catering within residences) – a reduction of 11 percentage points from 2018/19. 2% of income came from conferences (previously 7%) and 3% from sport (previously 5%).
  • Total residential income of £535.5m was reported for 2020/21 by 37 institutions. The average income was £14.5m.
  • Occupancy figures, which represent student headcount in beds during the contract period, are much lower than those recorded in 2018/19 where average occupancy was 95%. In 2020/21, 40 institutions reported data with an average occupancy at 81%.
  • Comparing the data to the 2018/19 figures for self- catered rooms (twin and double data not available) shows an increase of £16 a week in average rent for studio rooms and ensuite rooms and £5 for standard rooms. This represents an increase of 9%, 11% and 4% respectively.
  • New questions were added in 2020/21 to capture information around residence life programmes. On average, programmes were accessed by 47% of students (mean) and 43% of students (median) – although this ranged from 8% to 100% of students being engaged across the year.
  • The average cost per head of residence life programmes was £34 (mean) and £14 (median).
Download the full report


2019 CUBO Campus Experience Survey

The first step in our ambitious plan to scope the “campus experience” and understand the importance of different campus elements and services in attracting and supporting students, as well as wider university missions. Heads of commercial services provided a self-assessment of their campus performance and data on investment in infrastructure and services.

Key findings

  • Universities plan to invest hundreds of millions in campuses in the next five years.
  • 60% were very proud of their campuses, but less than 10% thought they worked well for the local community.
  • For every university the campus experience was vital to attracting new students, but those with multiple campuses were four times less likely to say they showcased themselves well.
  • Only 20% strongly agreed that their university was developing “smart campus technology”: 40% disagreed
  • Half of respondents said more than 80% of students were guaranteed their first preference of residence
  • The highest rated service was sport (average 7.54 out of 10), then residences (7.42), catering (6.86) and retail (5.86).
  • Campus design and how the campus is being used were less well rated.
Download the full report


2019 CUBO Benchmarking Survey

Key Findings:

  • Data was provided by 53 institutions, with 31 responding to both parts of the survey.
  • Total commercial income across 36 institutions providing data was £835.9m in 2018/19.
  • Residential income comprised 64% of the total, 25% from catering, 7% from conferences and 5% from sport.
  • Residential income was of £532.3m was reported for the 2018/19 year by 30 institutions, and the average income excluding 1 small entry was £18.4m.
  • Total catering income from the 33 institutions reporting their activities was £208.6m in 2018/19. The average income in this area was £6.3m.
  • Conferencing income across the 26 institutions who provided data was £54.8m, an average of £2.1m per institution.
  • Information has been provided by 24 institutions on their sports offer. Total income from the group was £40.3m, with an average income of £1.8m.
  • Average commercial income figure (excluding sports income to draw a comparison) was £22.7m in 2018/19 up from £20.5m in 2017/18, an 11% average rise.
Download the full report


2018 CUBO Benchmarking Survey

Our annual benchmarking collects data and analyses trends in commercial activity across accommodation, catering, retail and conferencing. Universities that participate receive the full aggregate data.

Key findings

  • Total commercial income reported by the 29 member institutions was £594.1m in 2016-17, including rental income from residences and from catering activities. This equates to an average commercial income of £20.5m per institution.
  • The report shows accommodation representing around 75% of all income, with catering at 17% and conferencing at 8%. Total commercial income is up 3% on the previous year.
  • Conference income of £48.6m was reported by 25 members, equating to an average of £1.9m of revenue across the group.
  • The modal price for a catered standard room in 2017/18 was in the £140-£149 rent bracket, while the modal en-suite catered cost was £180-189 per week.
Download the full report



This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyse your use of the site and services and assist with our member communication efforts. Privacy Policy. Accept cookies Cookie Settings