Today’s feature is all about two simple words that can mean a lot: “You’re Invited.”
Over the weekend I was inspired to blog on this topic after a top-notch Halloween-themed open house hosted by one of my clients in San Diego. My client had over 1,000 bodies through the door during their four hour event and it got me thinking…the fall/winter season can be a very important time for resident retention and renewal rates, so it’s essential to not let holiday bustle get in the way of hosting some thoughtfully curated events to impress your current, and prospective, residents. Yes, it may take a little more effort and budget than normal, but it’ll be worth it when your residents and community realize how much your team really cares.
Events are important when it comes to multi-family housing, for multiple reasons. They promote a sense of community for future residents, and they can also help display the lifestyle image you’re trying to build for future residents to see, and hopefully envy. With that being said, community event ideas should encourage those living in your community to come out of their shells, creating a buzz of excitement and increasing engagement. Because ultimately communities who play together, stay together (think increased resident retention). So how can you add a little of that good ol’ razzle dazzle to your open houses and events? Skim this list to get inspired:
- Collab, collab, collab! You’re trying to attract attention from your community, so why wouldn’t you involve your community as well? While the idea of asking local businesses and vendors to participate in your event may not be new, make sure that you’re including local influencers as well. Make a list of influential channels that align with your target demo, and make sure they’re getting a personal invite. If the event costs money, a discounted or comp’d ticket code, along with a swag bag, can sweeten the deal.
- Provide incentives. Let’s face it, we all have busy schedules…so sometimes just having an event isn’t always enough to lure people in. Make sure you have activities, contests, and giveaways intertwined into your event itinerary to keep things interesting.
- Start clubs. The possibilities are almost endless with this one. Have an amazing community kitchen to show off? Start a monthly cooking club with local chefs. Beautiful clubroom? Try a film or book club. Baller fitness room? Gym club with rotating classes and instructors! A few other random club ideas: gardening, DIY floral arrangements or crafting (think holiday wrapping or card making with local speciality stores involved).
- Give back. ‘Tis the season! There are so many great charitable causes for your community to get involved with. To maximize your community’s outreach, help your residents and leasing team form their own community outreach group. There’s really no limit to the good work you can accomplish when you work together. It’s the feel-good, do-good resident event idea every community should encourage.
- Turn it into an experience. Some of the most successful apartment community events I’ve had the opportunity to help with have a festival vibe. Find ways to utilize your amenity spaces and available apartments by creating mini scenes or pop-up experiences for event-goers to pop into and interact with.
- Keep up with the times. Plan your events around the holidays and current happenings. One of my current clients just got done hosting a “Halloween Open House” with talented local artists turning available apartments into haunted scenes and pop-up shops featuring local vendors…it was a huge hit!
- Optimize the outcome. Make sure you have an organized contact list of everyone who RSVP’d (at least full name and email address)—send thank you notes and follow-up with an invite to an exclusive tour of the property. And with whatever you decide to do, don’t forget to DOCUMENT these events. If you don’t post, did it really happen? But seriously…make sure you have someone on hand who can promote the before, during and after parts of these thoughtfully curated events on your social channels, blog, website, etc. It’s a crucial part to the equation! And make sure the content you decide to post really paints an aesthetically pleasing picture of the lifestyle you’re trying to promote. A good test for this is asking yourself “Does looking at this make me want to be involved or live there?”
If you don’t have the capacity to host an event, try hosting an apartment decor or “lifestyle” photo contest to keep your residents engaged and excited about where they live.
Take these ideas and grow communities out of them—and never be afraid to do something outside the box!