CampusX: Connection, Growth and Innovation

An interview with Gianluca Guarino, Revenue Manager at CampusX (CX). Founded in 2011, the company aims to revolutionize the student campus offer in Italy, following the most evolved Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon models and re-thinking them for the eco-sustainable, connected, smart world of today.

B: Gianluca, can you tell us about yourself, your background, and what brought you to CX?
G: Since childhood, I have had a strong passion for foreign languages ​​and cultures. It immediately pushed me towards the tourism sector. After attending a language institute in high school, I began my professional career as an intern at some hotels in Rome. I initially worked at the front office, where I started to understand the importance of hospitality and treating guests as guests rather than clients. I then honed my skills in the back office, managing the property’s reservations. Afterward, I had the opportunity to join a hotel consultancy company, where I participated in hybrid hospitality projects, including Camplus (today, one of the main competitors of CX). In 2021, thanks to business innovations, I joined CX, dedicating myself mainly to activities related to distribution, revenue management, forecasting, and pricing… and lots and lots of Excel.

B: When was Campus X born? What is its history, mission, and values?

G: Campus X was founded in 2011, initially serving three locations in Rome, Bari, and Chieti as a student housing company. Over the years, CX has evolved. We took inspiration from the business model born in Northern European countries and adapted it to the Italian market. With the opening of the two facilities in Turin, the company began the process of transformation into the hybrid reality it is today, offering accommodation to both university students and tourists. Our mission, “Connecting Experiences,” aims to create an experience beyond simple accommodation, promoting sharing, connection, and cultural interaction through our main driver: Community. Our values ​​reflect three macro-themes: hospitality, inclusiveness, and sustainability.

B: How does CX integrate sustainability into its operations and student campus facilities?

G: Sustainability is among the keywords of our business strategy. For this reason, we are committed to implementing it in all its forms: environmental, social, economic, and management. 

Most of the current CX structures were abandoned or degraded buildings, then redeveloped and transformed into places of beauty and connection. All campuses, in fact, are designed as spaces for intercultural exchange, socialization, and participation. They have dedicated green areas and spaces designed to encourage artistic creativity. The collaboration with the Experience Foundation, dedicated to ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) initiatives was a key driver in this approach. 

Other recent projects include the provision of scholarships to young Afghan refugees and the creation of Biodiversity Oasis within the campuses. Our commitment in this sense is described in the annual Sustainability Report, which can be downloaded from the website.

B: How does CX embrace technological innovation to improve the student experience on campus?
G: We constantly experiment with new solutions. Our app is among the most popular tools used by young people. It allows them to manage their daily activities, such as booking the gym, receiving real-time updates on campus, making payments, and much more.  In recent years, we have developed a series of collaborations with technology companies. An example worth mentioning is Tulu – we are their first Italian partner. This collaboration allowed us to offer our students a variety of rental goods through a “digital wardrobe,” thus promoting the culture of sustainable resource usage.

B: How does CX involve the student community in decisions and initiatives?
G: CX actively engages the student community through various channels. First of all, we have a Community of Ambassadors present in all our structures, who represent, on the one hand, a point of reference and support for students, and on the other, a source of direct and sincere feedback for CX. In addition to this, to give our guests a voice, we conduct post-stay surveys once at six months, focus groups on dedicated projects, and encourage discussion on our social media channels.

B: How does CX promote diversity and inclusion on student campuses?
G: Enhancing cultural diversity and social inclusion are two cornerstones of our corporate approach. In addition to the local initiatives described above, we manage international solidarity projects, including scholarships to young people from countries dealing with political and economic instability or countries where the right to education is not guaranteed.

B: What are CX’s future goals in terms of growth, service improvements, and innovation on student campuses?
G: CX’s goals focus on growth through new openings and innovation by introducing Hostel rooms and Coworking spaces. We currently have 8 operational facilities and approximately 10 new opening in the pipeline. We want to reach 10,000 beds by 2026 and 17 facilities open throughout Italy by 2027. Another growth goal is quality-related. We are always looking for ways to improve our services through analyzing student feedback and implementing targeted initiatives. Adopting a tool like TrustYou will allow us to continue collecting and analyzing online feedback, identifying strengths and weaknesses for constant improvement.

B: What are some projects and initiatives you are currently excited about?
G: We are very enthusiastic about our new facilities and community initiatives, although we prefer these projects speak for themselves once they open. Another project we are proud of aims to connect students from different locations, strengthening what we consider our key driver of excellence: the student community.

B: If you had to describe CX with a slogan, what would it be?
G: Our payoff, namely: “Connecting Experiences,” fully encompasses our mission to promote connections between our students through experiences, friendships, and sharing.