HOAS – Understanding and Developing the Customer Journey


The Helsinki Region Student Housing Foundation (Hoas), established in 1969, is a non-profit foundation aimed at easing the housing situation for students in the capital region. Hoas rents apartments in Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo, and Kauniainen to full-time degree students at post-primary educational institutions. The foundation owns over 10,000 apartments, housing a total of about 18,000 residents.

In Hoas’ customer journey, three critical phases have been identified that greatly impact customer experience:

1. Searching for and renting an apartment

2. Moving

3. Settling in

To improve their operations, Hoas wanted to understand its customers’ experiences in these phases of the customer journey and enlisted the help of Sailer.


Sailer designed and conducted a qualitative longitudinal study, following Hoas residents through the various stages of the customer journey. Residents were recruited and selected in collaboration with Hoas, based on pre-interviews conducted by Sailer. The recruitment considered different customer segments and profiles. Residents were asked to reflect on their experiences at different stages of the customer journey in online in-depth interviews. Three rounds of interviews were conducted. Additionally, interviewees were given independent tasks, such as collecting video diary material about preparations for moving, the move itself, and their living experiences. The study took about six months to complete. The comprehensive data included dozens of hours of interview material, video diary entries, and dozens of pages of observational notes from each stage of the customer journey. The collected data was analyzed and subjected to research questions. After each round of interviews, a presentation of the research findings was held, where Sailer presented Hoas with the findings from each stage. The presentations utilized rich image and video material collected during the interviews. Finally, a video report for each stage of the customer journey was edited, authentically illustrating residents’ daily life, challenges, and joys of living.

"Sailer's study enabled us to get a concrete grasp of our residents' experiences and perspectives. The video-format reporting brought the residents closer, which was especially important for those who don't normally work at the customer interface. The study's findings have been utilized in internal training and workshops, helping us move closer to our goal of providing the most comfortable and easy housing during education."
Pia Jaakola
Customer Relations Director, HOAS


The timing and reporting of the study were structured so that Hoas could effectively use the research findings and video reports in staff and management training. With these results, Hoas can develop its operations and customer experience and easily and convincingly disseminate customer understanding throughout the organization.


The study’s reporting was formatted to facilitate its use in internal training program workshops, development days, and stakeholder events.