University City Image Tracker

A new subscriber service to map, compare and track the image of the UK’s leading university cities with prospective students

Course-University-Location. All the research points to these three factors as central to UK undergraduate prospective student choice. These are what you promote and explain on your website, at open days and in the prospectus.

We work with universities to track their brand image, and to optimise the appeal of their course portfolios. But when it comes to the image of the host city, the evidence is often anecdotal. Yet our research confirms that perception of place is a vital element in student choice, particularly in the pre-application phase.

The truth is, we all need to be effective destination marketers.

TKP has designed a new subscription service to map, compare and track the image of the UK’s leading study cities, using unique online surveys. It will enable marketing teams to evaluate how much of the increase or fall in application share is down to changing location image factors and what actions should follow. With it, universities will:

  • Better understand the role of location in applicant choice and thus better manage the perception of place.
  • Replace guesswork with reliable insights on what the market thinks of their city.
  • Inform collective initiatives with city authorities and partners.
  • Improve student destination marketing communications.

What will the Tracker measure?

  • The overall appeal to prospective students of each city in the study
  • The image of each city across a range of dimensions (surfaced via the qualitative research)
  • The individual dimensions having the greatest impact on the overall image of your host city (using key driver analysis)
  • Key channels and influencers, that shape perceptions, that you need to engage (visits, media, family, student friends, etc)
  • Students preferences of location type (major city, small city, etc)
  • Which dimensions of a city applicants consider to be the most critical when choosing universities 
  • Changes in city brand image over time and relative to other destinations
  • The cities included will in part be determined by the location of subscribing universities. London may be treated more specifically for clients based in the capital.

Compare perceptions with the lived reality: For an additional cost, subscribers can include surveys of current undergraduate students and/or alumni to see gaps between applicant perceptions and the 'real experience'.

Key information


Qualitative research with prospective UK undergraduates informs the design of the service and a dynamic online survey will be completed each September/October. The timing means respondents (Year 13) will be considering options but not committed to any that might influence their attitudes to the cities.

The UK-wide sample will have sufficient responses to enable results to reflect the UK market overall, analyse data at a regional level and allow you to compare your city's overall image and region of respondent.


Single university user for private use:

£4,950 + VAT Prospective Students
£8,900 + VAT Combined (Prospective Students and Current Students/Alumni - includes integrative analysis and reporting comparing the two samples)

Consortia/multiple user:

£7,425 + VAT Prospective Students
£13,250 + VAT Combined (Prospective Students and Current Students/Alumni - includes integrative analysis and reporting comparing the two samples)

User explanation

Universities can subscribe to the service for their own private use (single-user licence) or for shared use with partners in the city area (multiple-user licence).

The dual pricing structure recognises that you may want to share the findings (and perhaps the costs) with other stakeholders that would benefit from the insights, or those you may need to work with you to address any issues revealed by the research. These might include local authorities, student accommodation providers and other HE providers in your city.      

To subscribe, use the online form below; we will contact you to confirm receipt and will then require a purchase order and the name and details of the person to whom the invoices should be sent for approval (typically the budget-holder). 

Please call Christine Pickup on +44 113 2430597 or email if you have any enquiries.

Request a callback

If you would like to be contacted by a member of staff to discuss the products and services we offer, then please complete the form and someone will be in touch shortly.

What do you want to do?


Portfolio Analysis and Strategy

We are the only research agency to specialise in course analysis and development. We work closely with senior staff to benchmark portfolios across faculties and institutions.



We are specialists in primary market research techniques and use these skills to produce evidence based conclusions that inform our consultants’ recommendations.



For over a decade we have helped universities across the world develop and maximise the impact of their internationalisation strategies.


and Business Engagement

We work with universities and sector bodies to develop business engagement and employability strategies which recognise the vital role they play in course development and student marketing.