2023-4 CUBO Benchmarking Survey


What is the CUBO benchmarking survey?

The survey collects and analyses data across different HE commercial and campus services - residential accommodation, conference & event business, catering, hospitality & retail, residence life, sport, soft FM and security. About a month after the survey closes, participants gain access to the full, anonymised data via their own online dashboard, with the ability to filter by e.g. university turnover or mission group. 

Later in the year, CUBO publishes a summary report for the sector.

Why should we participate?

This is a unique commercial services dataset which tracks trends over time, as well as benchmarking your institution against others within the same year.  You’ll have a personalised data dashboard and an exclusive invitation to an online presentation and discussion of the overall findings.  And the more universities and colleges participate, the better the data and insights will be for all.

How is the survey delivered?

The survey is delivered in partnership between CUBO and consultants The Russell Partnership Collection, who collect and analyse the data on CUBO’s behalf. Overseeing the project for CUBO are Jan Capper, Executive Director, and Sue Pimblett, Board Lead for Research.

How is the data secured?

All data is kept secure and no data from individual universities is shared with anyone. The data dashboard anonymises all data, so you are assured of anonymity and security for all data entered. 

What format is the survey?

Data is submitted online via an Excel spreadsheet with tabs for the different business areas. The spreadsheet autosaves and can be completed at your own pace and by different staff members e.g. division heads.

How do we complete the survey?

The survey link was emailed to the designated CUBO lead member and/or benchmarking contact for your institution on 4th January.  Additional staff wanting access to the survey can register here.

Please share the survey with senior staff responsible for residences, catering & retail, conferencing, guest and hotel accommodation, residence life, sport, soft FM and security, even if they are not within your division.

What if I’m not sure how to answer something?

Contact with any queries on the survey questions. Also check out our troubleshooting section below.

What if I have technical issues?

Please contact

How long have we got?

The survey is open until Friday 2nd February 2024. 


Important tips and clarification on the 2023-4 survey:

Financial information

Across the survey, VAT is to be included where prices are requested, but excluded when referring to revenue and income values. Where there is an explicit VAT related note attached to a question, please follow those instructions.

Residences Overview

Q5 – This question refers to data from October 2023

Residences Commercial

Q4 – Please ignore this question as it is a duplicate of Q2

Residence Life

Q1c – This question refers to data from October 2023

Q1e – "student ambassador" means student staff working in residence life

Hotel Guest rooms

Q5 – As noted, please exclude VAT from the ADR calculation i.e. Room revenue (excluding VAT at 20%) divided by number of rooms sold.

Campus Convenience Stores

Q2 - Please just enter the % figure and ignore the £ sign that appears.


Only Q4 requires data excluding VAT. Q11 and Q12 are inclusive of VAT.

Soft FM

Q3 and Q4 - the years should be 21/22 and 22/23. Please enter data for 21/22 under the row titled ‘20/21’ and data for 22/23 under the row titled ‘21/22’.


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