The Inner Workings of a Successful Multifamily Resident Event
By Stephanie Mathrusse
In a new age of enhanced technology, remote work and less in-person interaction, cultivating a community feeling of connection and appreciation at your property is more important than ever. Complementary to providing a 5-star level of service, a community-like atmosphere is a key element of making residents feel at home.
How can you create a connected community of residents? Resident events are an excellent way. Successful resident events are often determined through trial and error. Nevertheless, it is important to devise an event plan that can be managed, implemented and refined in the future.
Mark-Taylor focuses on the following components to host an exceptional resident event:
Adopt a resident-first mindset. Events are for the enjoyment of your resident; therefore, their needs and interests must be at the forefront. Accommodation is everything — for example, if your team plans to serve food, it is important to also offer alternatives for those that may possess special dietary restrictions (i.e. Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan).
It is a best practice to also involve residents in the planning process when you can. Polling or initiating a discussion can be helpful in deciding what type of events will generate the most enthusiasm.
Give residents something to look forward to in their free time. After deciding what type of event to host, selecting an ideal date and time for a resident function is an important step. As previously trialed, Friday evenings into the weekend usually see a better turnout as most residents will be free from work and are actively seeking entertainment.
A good rule of thumb is to create a consistent resident event schedule (bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually), allowing residents to make it a known part of their routine.
Host the event in a communal space. Communal areas on the property are often an excellent option for the event space. These curated spaces are convenient, familiar and naturally promoted while in use. As a result, interested residents are more likely to feel comfortable attending the event as well as recognize the added value of the amenity space firsthand and utilize it accordingly.
Creating buy-in is key. Buy-in stems from timely and strategic communication, from community management to residents. Share event details on mass communication platforms such as email, text or through a resident portal. Flyers or coupons have also been an effective means to spread the word as foot traffic presents itself in the Leasing office. Also, keep in mind that buy-in from your community team members is equally as important as generating excitement from residents.
A sample of an ideal communication sequence is as follows:
- A month in advance – announcement of the event
- Before the event – event reminders
- Day of the event – final reminder
By completing the outlined outreach, top-of-mind awareness is generated and maintained.
Offer crowd-pleasing incentives. A free event already entices residents but incorporating in a “wow factor” adds value to the overall experience created. Popular incentives include tasteful catering, alcohol service (through a licensed bartender), raffles, and desirable prizes.
Remain consistent and seek areas of improvement. Consistency works – events that only see upwards of fifty residents may double and triple in size as events become regularly scheduled, activities or incentives are improved, and communication is elevated. In the same sense, if a challenge is presented at a function (i.e. Running out of food or supplies), teams should consider flagging it as an area of improvement to be tackled in the future. These efforts not only better future events but prove that community management listens to their residents.
Residents are the best measurement of success. The big question that remains is how does one measure the success of a resident event — through data, social media posts, number of attendees, etc.? The quick answer is all of the above. However, the most telling factor is community sentiment and feedback.
- Was the event well received? Did residents arrive and leave on a positive note?
- Have residents expressed interest in future events?
These guiding questions can assist your community management team in evaluating whether your event helped create a positive reaction from your residents.
In today’s multifamily housing industry, a thriving community sets you apart. Thoughtfully planned resident events will foster connectivity and help your community invite, inspire and feel like home.
About the Author
Stephanie Mathrusse is an Associate Managing Director of Multifamily Investments for Mark-Taylor Residential. She provides strategic direction for a large portfolio of the Mark-Taylor luxury communities across Arizona and Nevada. She utilizes her expertise to lead her communities to achieve optimal operational success, while staying true to Mark-Taylor exceptional standards of service.