Boost Resident Event Attendance: The Secret Sauce
Q: "Dear Barbara, I'm a manager at a 200 unit community in Lubbock, TX. Lately, I'm having a really low turnout at all of our resident events. We put in a lot of effort. We have great food, great giveaways. What am I doing wrong? Please help." Signed, Selena.
Alright Selena, well, this is a great question! No one wants to show up to a LAME-O party! And no one wants to work hard to throw an event that is empty or awkwardly sparse.
Hosting awesome resident events comes down to three little secrets. And guess what? They all start with C so they’re easy to remember.
Secret #1: GET CREATIVE
Think about WHY RESIDENTS ATTEND COMMUNITY EVENTS...
What is your event and why would I want to show up? If I’m exchanging my time for attending your event, it has to be compelling. Let’s be honest, why would I get out of my sweat pants to go interact with other humans? It’s gotta be good :)
We’re not saying you have to throw the event of the century every time, but you do have to keep your ideas fresh.
Check out six of our favorite fresh resident event ideas:
Host a resident “Mix & Flamingle” where everything is flamingo themed
Waffle Bars for the Win
Themed Potluck: One of my favorites is “An Around the World” party...food from all around the world or narrow down to one country
Mimosa Mondays because who doesn’t want a Mimosa on a Monday?
Popsicles & Champagne...yes, please!
Superhero party for the kiddos and the BIG kids
Events that are going to resonate with your residents are going to be different for every community. You have to drill down to what are your residents into? Dig a little. What do your residents like to do on their free time? What’s everyone up to on a Saturday evening? What do they do Sunday mornings? Taking some time to observe them. Get comfortable asking them what they enjoy doing? Let them know you want to host the best events possible.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a huge budget. An event doesn’t have to be expensive to be memorable. It also doesn’t have to be huge. It does have to be different than the day-to-day.
SECRET #2: CHAMPION YOUR EVENT FOR HIGHER ATTENDANCE AT YOUR NEXT APARTMENT COMMUNITY EVENT
You’ve got to champion your own event. Be your own promoter. Your own hype-man (or lady!).
Is your event going to be awesome? If no one knows about it, I can promise you it won’t be.
Give your residents plenty of notice!
If you're sending out an event reminder or you're sending out the first notice two days before the event, chances are you're not going to have a good turnout.
If it’s a large event, post up to a month in advance. If it’s smaller, two weeks is usually a good starting point. Use every avenue you have available to you.
Sidebar from a marketing gal: Nothing makes me crazier than a yawn-worthy invite. If your invite stinks, I’m thinking your event is going to stink. Check out a few event pieces that are available to Sprout Members.
Back to you championing your event...What’s your number one way that you currently interact with your residents? Start there.
10 quick tips to promote your resident events:
Post an eye-catching invite in all common areas
E-blast it out to residents
Include it in your newsletter
Frame an invite on each of your leasing desks
Encourage your staff (including maintenance) to personally invite everyone they talk to
Post it on social and schedule repeat reminders using your fave social scheduling tools
Create a FB event
Put some money behind your events (FB or Instagram ads). This is when having your resident’s email comes in handy for targeted ads.
Ask your individual team members to make promo videos to post on FB, Instagram (stories are great for this), and even on your website
You can even get chalky (not cheeky) with it! Some communities chalk their sidewalk, with notes that say "Hey, our event is tomorrow, don't forget!" Or, "Event this way" and little paw prints or footprints leading to the community center.
Download our Event Checklist to ensure you're not forgetting anything!
SECRET #3: CONSISTENcy (THE MOST OVERLOOKED INGREDIENT TO SUCCESSFUL RESIDENT EVENTS)
If your resident events are hit or miss, residents won’t know what to expect.
Don't give up too easily. At the very beginning you may only have a few turn out, but if it's a great event, the word will get out. People love to be a part of something that others want to be part of.
Consider hosting recurring monthly events that tie into certain days of the week.
Here are a few thematic examples:
Wild Card Wednesday
Food Truck Fridays
A few others:
Popsicles at the Pool on Saturdays
Treats for the Kiddos after school on Fridays
Yappy Hour for the Pups every Thursday
It doesn’t really matter what it is, but it matters that it’s consistent. Residents get used to the idea that on this day of the week, something is happening.
There are a ton of other tips & tricks for hosting incredible events that your residents want to attend, but these are just a few of the ones that I’ve seen yield the best results in the shortest amount of time.
I guarantee you, Selena, that if you do these three things you're going to have an awesome turnout at your next event. And the next one is gonna be even more fantastic.