10 Fun Ways to Engage Your Residents
Building great relationships with your residents will lead to lease renewals, positive online reviews, referrals, and less angry phone calls. There are plenty of fun, cost-effective ways you can show your residents you care about them and their experience at your property. Here are our top 10 ideas to boost resident engagement without breaking the bank.
1. Complimentary Gift Wrapping Station
Have an unused corner of your lobby area? Create a handy little gift wrapping station that your residents will swoon over! It is a great opportunity to check in and connect with your residents while they are wrapping gifts. Also, because you’ll need to stock it with different wrapping paper and ribbons depending on the time of year, it will nicely complement your holiday lobby decor. This unique and thoughtful, low-cost amenity will set your property apart from the rest! The Home Depot has a helpful blog with tips and suggestions for creating your own gift wrapping station.
2. Community Garden
Community gardens tend to attract higher-income residents, Baby Boomers, and Traditionalists, so depending on the demographics of your community, a garden may be the perfect addition to your property. First, consult a professional landscaper to develop an accessible layout. Also, consider adding a compost bin to offset waste and enrich the soil naturally. Once your garden is up and running, host a “green thumb” contest, and post a picture of the winning plant, fruit, or vegetable on the community bulletin board, newsletter, and facebook page. Read this awesome MultifamilyBiz article for more info on starting your own community garden.
3. Trivia Night
Trivia nights are becoming increasingly popular at bars, restaurants, and now, multifamily communities! Find a location on your property that will fit a few tables and chairs (maybe your lobby, or lawn area) and grab some beers, sodas, pretzels, M&Ms, notepads, and pencils. Enlist your wittiest staff member as the emcee for the night and find your trivia questions online, from a board game, or a book. Here are a few sites with a bunch of fun questions you can use:
Don’t forget to announce your Trivia Night on your community board, newsletter, social media, and email blasts. Your residents will love testing their knowledge, getting to know their neighbors, and most importantly YOU for organizing a thoughtful and enjoyable event.
4. Ice Cream Social
This idea is so sweet and simple, but there are certainly ways to spice it up! Everyone loves ice cream, but you can kick it up a notch by bringing in a local gelato cart vendor, or setting up a banana split bar. Maybe consider moving away from the idea of ice cream completely, and host a build-your-own s’mores bar (especially if your property has a fire pit) with unique ingredients to add like Nutella, peanut butter, oreos, or chocolate chip cookies (to use instead of graham crackers). As with any event you organize, don’t forget to announce it on every community platform available so you get the most bang for your buck. Sweet treats are the best opportunity to connect with your residents, and show them some love.
For food-centric events, property and community managers should look to platforms such as 2ndKitchen. 2ndKitchen automates all parts of food-themed resident events, from scheduling, curation, management, ordering, set-up, and delivery. Whether it is an ice cream social, holiday dinner, or food truck Friday – 2ndKitchen’s platform empowers property staff to host any food-themed event from its catalog of event themes and food vendors.
5. Interior Design Consultations
Not everyone is Martha Stewart, some residents may need a little help in the creativity department. Encourage them to make their space feel like home by offering interior design consultations. Decorist is a popular startup that offers custom designs for $299 per room with no hidden costs. Laurel & Wolf and Havenly are similar platforms that offer room design services starting as low as $79 per space. Hiring an interior design service would be a great draw for new residents, or a sweet way to reward loyal ones who sign longer lease agreements.
6. Scavenger Hunt
There’s no better way to bring out your residents’ “inner-child” than a good old fashioned scavenger hunt. You can purchase a bunch of ping pong balls or plastic rings, or rubber duckies like Camden Living did and hide them all over your property. When your residents find them, they can turn them into the office to claim a prize. This gives you the chance to chat with them, and maybe hand out some branded gear. Some argue the best scavenger hunts involve riddles! If you go this route, each riddle they find leads them to another riddle until they finally reach a prize (hidden mimosa bar maybe?). Feel free to use the following riddles, and/or come up with your own!
Your managers work to get lots of things done
Applications and leases and all kinds of fun
They sometimes will sit at their desk in their chair
Low and behold, your next clue is there
Treasure hunt clue answer: Under your office chair
I’m stuck with articles, ads, and info
Lots of things that people want you to know
Papers and invites just hanging around
Somewhere up there the next clue can be found
Treasure hunt clue answer: Notice board
Fire me up and I’ll get nice and hot
During fun summer nights I’m a coveted spot
Wipe me down when you’re done and don’t be a slob
But enjoy your burgers and corn on the cob
Treasure hunt clue answer: BBQ
7. Doggie/Kitty Photo Contest
If your property is pet friendly, let your residents show off their fur babies and compete for a prize. You can create categories like, funniest pet photo, sleepiest pet photo, happiest pet photo, etc. Just have your residents post their entries on social media using your hashtag, and then re-post the winning photos on your social platforms. People are bound to connect with like-minded pet parents in your community and plan playdates. When your residents know and love their neighbors, the number of complaints will decrease and number of lease renewals will increase.
8. Hashtag Contest
If your community doesn’t allow pets, you can still run a successful UGC (user-generated content) hashtag contest. Do you have a current hashtag for your management company or property? Build brand awareness, and increase resident engagement by running a few social media contests throughout the year. Maybe during the holidays, ask your residents to post a picture of the wreath on their door using your hashtag, and the most creative wreath photo wins. Or if your property has a defining sign, gate, or water feature, encourage your residents to post fun pictures posing with that feature (and be sure to use your hashtag!). After your contest is over and prizes have been distributed to all of your winners, don’t forget to share and re-post. This will make your residents feel special and involved in the community; it also gives you great content for your social platforms.
9. Car Wash Service
Hire a local or mobile car wash company like Spiffy to come to your property and get your residents’ cars spic and span in the parking garage or parking lot if you have one. Set up a waiting area with beer and snacks for residents to enjoy and mingle with each other while their cars are detailed.
10. Leadership Lectures
If you have solid relationships with your residents, and know what they do for a living, ask if they would be interested in sharing their expertise with the rest of the community. Host a monthly or bi-annual lecture in your rec center, or common area. Do you have a CPA at your property? Ask them to share tips and best practices during tax season. Maybe there is a nurse or doctor would be willing to answer general health questions, and share new medical practices. They may be willing to speak for free, or incentivise them with a gift card, $100 off next month’s rent, etc.
Take a look at your budget, analyze your community demographics, and conclude what the most successful resident engagement event will be for your property. What will be a hit with your residents? Please let us know if you have any other tips for resident engagement, or if you attempted any of our suggestions, we want to hear how they turned out.
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