Resident events are a good way to attract families to your community, but it’s not easy to pull off a successful event. After one or two failed events many get discouraged and avoid holding resident events all together. Don’t give in. By avoiding resident events, you miss an amazing opportunity to foster a deeper community, better understand who to market your vacancies to, and get an edge on your competition. By developing an event that fits your community’s interests, relying on your team and community, and covering the basics of internal advertising, you’ll reap the benefits of a successful resident event in no time.
Picking the Right Event for your Community
While you might want to throw a resident event where renters get to sip wine and learn how to salsa dance, your community might not necessarily be interested. Before you start buying your dancing shoes, consider what your residents have in common. Are the majority of your residents athletic? Is your community eco-friendly? Or, do you have a pet-friendly environment? Having a common interest in your community not only makes resident events easier, but it is a powerful tool when marketing to new applicants.
If you’re not sure if your community has a common interest, then shape your resident event around communication and observation. By communicating with your residents you avoid wasting time and get closer to what your community really wants. If you propose a few events to a resident and find that you’re off the mark, then that puts you one step closer to throwing an event that your community will truly value, and allows you to more accurately represent your community to interested applicants in the future. Using your observations to decide what type of event to throw is just as important. Unfortunately not all residents know what they want. To fill in the blanks, use your observations on how much your residents use your amenities to help shape your resident event. For example if you have noticed that a large portion of your community uses your onsite gym, then consider hosting a free workout class. If a large portion of your residents use the community pool and BBQs, consider hosting a kid-friendly pool party. Add a few pictures and you’ll be able to use your resident event to market your amenities online in a new way.
Finally, if you still can’t find a common interest between your residents and your amenities are relatively untouched, think about what motivates your residents. How will your residents benefit from going to your event? One common way to attract residents is convenience. The great thing about hosting an event that focuses on convenience is that they’re usually no-fuss, no-pressure, easy events to execute. Strike up a deal with your local pizza place to sell pre-made, discounted pizzas at your leasing office or the front of your property. Relieve some stress for the parents in your community by hosting safe holiday fun like Trick or Treating right outside their door. Although using financial gain (rather than convenience) as a way to attract residents to your event is tricky, it’s not impossible. One example would be a community yard sale, where each unit can make money selling off the items they don’t want anymore. You can host this in one of your visitor parking lots, where car spaces become designated unit sell spaces. Although these events aren’t necessarily as marketable to applicants as giant resident events that feature your amenities or community features, these events help generate long-lasting residencies.
Relying on your Team and Residents
As the organizer of the event, you’re going to have to use your property management leadership skills to delegate tasks. You don’t want to be stuck planning the event all by yourself, so get your team involved, but be realistic. If it’s too big of an event for you and your team, cut down. As handy as Pinterest is for discovering cheap, DIY decorations for your event, the simpler it is the less risk your event has. If you’re the only one managing your community and you can’t find help, keep your events small. Like I said above, you can make a deal with pizza places or arrange for someone to host a workout class. This requires minimal set-up, so you can focus on other things. Your resident event doesn’t even have to be a physical event! Create a contest for your pet-loving residents where they have to post a silly picture of their furry friend. Or, create an invite-only Facebook group that allows your residents to list if they have items they want to sell or give away for free (like baby or wedding supplies) This makes your community feel appreciated and more close-knit without giving yourself a huge workload.
Relying on your residents sounds scary, but as long as you keep the tasks minimal and optional, you avoid the whole event falling apart. If you have a relatively active, close-knit community already, get your community involved by hosting a potluck at your kid-friendly pool party. For events like the yard sale, you can get your residents involved by making them sign-up to participate. Ultimately resident events are meant to be perks for your community, so the bulk of the set-up and execution should be done by you and your team. That being said, using minor ways to get your residents involved guarantees some resident participation, so utilize your community involvement strategically.
We all know that advertising is key to any successful event, but when planning a resident event it can be easy to forget to cover the basics. When advertising the event to your residents, put up notices by the mailboxes, laundry room, pool, gym, leasing office, and rent drop-off. If you have a community newsletter or email chain, be sure to promote it through there. If you typically deliver news in person, online, or via text, do that. Let your community know with whatever method of communication your residents are comfortable with and don’t forget to send out multiple reminders. If you have an event that’s uniquely open to the local community (like a yard sale), then you’ll have to add on an extra layer of advertising. However, be aware of where you advertise online. You should regard the safety of your residents at all times.
Depending on the type of event you’re holding, you might want to include incentives in your advertisements. Events that focus around an online contest (like who has the best decorated balcony or silliest pet photo) typically warrant a prize for participation. In this case you’d want to have an incentive like a gift card or gift basket. Otherwise, most physical resident events like a workout class or college football night don’t need an incentive.
Ultimately having a successful resident event is all about knowing your community. Without the knowledge of what your residents are interested in collectively, you not only waste your time on ineffective events, but you market your community inappropriately to potential applicants. The fear of failure is not a good enough excuse. Nor is a lack of resources. With just some time and a $25 gift card, you can launch an effective resident event within your community right at your desk. It’s an easy way to give you a greater understanding on how to give the best customer service to your community, attract new residents and retain old ones, and develop a reputation within your local area. So why not start now?
Does your community have any unique interests? How has your community benefited after a successful resident event? Let us know your experiences in the comments section below & be sure to subscribe!