Resident events are a fun way to build a sense of community within multi-family properties. Sounds easy right? LOL. It won’t always be the case. Over the last 7 years, we have learned a variety of lessons and tips. We learned poor turnout will happen by hosting an event on the same weekend as a major event. Our goal of sharing our lessons is to help you avoid making the same mistakes. You learn how to create a knockout event and change your community culture.
Here are our top five lessons learned:
1.Creating An Atmosphere Helps
It can be as simple a downloading a playlist or having a live band. The atmosphere is created by the little things that show effort. Your residents love to have fun. Communities can feel discouraged by low turnouts or residents grabbing and go. Once creating an atmosphere is embraced, the residents will start to embrace the events.
Event Manager Blog shares 10 steps to achieve the perfect atmosphere (https://www.eventmanagerblog.com/event-atmosphere/). By investing in key event decorations, you will find easy in event duplication without stress. The key is not going too far with the theme. There is a thin line between festive and cheesy. Our LuxeGiving Amazon store (https://www.amazon.com/shop/luxegivingllc))has affordable decorations and party essentials.
2. Events Create A Culture
People love free food and drinks. Yes, they do! A successful event isn’t based on people taking free stuff. A successful event can be based on engagement and social media moments. Parties all of the time creates a party culture. Event variety will create a culture where everyone’s interest is valued.
We’ve worked with a community for three years. We hosted a plant and paint to see an entirely different crowd. Sometimes it will take a few attempts to get a turnout, but the effort will truly pay off. Holly Welles mentioned in 7 Ways to Build A Sense of Community in Your Apartment Community in The Rental Housing Journal “Whatever event you put together, your tenants should be just as excited about it as you are.” (https://rentalhousingjournal.com/7-ways-to-build-a-sense-of-community-in-your-apartment-building/)
3. Picking The Right Date
The date choice is key to planning an event. The perfect date to host an event for a community in the suburbs would vary from a community in the heart of the city. For example, planning a Halloween party downtown on a Friday will likely have a low turnout.
4. Free Isn’t Always Better
For example, a local restaurant passing out little bite-sized appetizers and running out within 10 minutes. Budgets are a key part of events. Free services and culture go hand in hand. A culture of free vendor tables in the lobby will backfire. Whenever free services are provided, it’s important to have a clear conversation on the work scope.
Some local businesses are jaded by providing full out events with the marketing possibility. It is key to maintain your relationship with local vendors. No one wants to feel used. The event may be free to the community, but it did cost the business owners money. The key to a free event is doing your part to ensure both the community AND the vendor benefit.
5. Floating Palm Trees versus Additional Bar Services
There is a constant battle between spending on the important versus what’s cool! The best way to decipher your spending comes through budget acceptance. Bar quality, live music, food services, entertainment, and decoration all play a part in maximizing an event budget. There is a true talent between cutting costs, being cheap and wasteful.
Budget acceptance makes planning an event helpful when working with vendors or outside sources. It is essential to have clear conversations and perspectives. Your vendors will have difficulty fulfilling a pool party for $500 for 50 people including food, a bar, deejay, and decorations. The realistic approach would be catered food, Pandora “Summer Fun” channel, and an in-house provided signature drink.
To conclude, community events are a key approach to improving resident engagement. The Multifamily Social Media Summit wrote a phenomenal article called Improving Your Resident Engagement (https://www.multifamily-social-media.com/improving-your-resident-engagement/). We encourage you to explore the tips and learn from our lessons. Each event grows our understanding of the property management industry. Trends and interests are forever evolving.
Let’s continue to learn together!
What’s one of the biggest lessons you learned about resident events?