Apartment Party Apartment Party Ideas For Property Managers


Publicizing Your Apartment Party – Why Should You?

If a residents never participate, enjoy, or utilize your amenities and events, do they actually have value?  When we first sell a prospect on living at our apartment communities, they often place themselves in that vision you are creating for them.  They see themselves working out at your gym, they imagine themselves attending your apartment party, and they consider what it would be like basking in the sun next to your pool.  But what happens if none of those comes true?  What if they never work out at the gym, never attend an event, or never lounge by the pool?  Suddenly the value to your amenities drops to almost zero!

So in order for your apartment party to have any effect on your residents, to achieve your goals, then they actually have to attend!  But that seems almost “needy”, doesn’t it?  Having to somehow convince your residents to come out and play…  Well, unfortunately, that’s just the case.  You need to show them that it’s worth their time to come check out your events.

Think back to your own social life.  I’m sure you have known in your life at least one person who throws legendary parties, and when that person invites you, you cancel all other plans so you can make it.  But unless you heard it threw “word of mouth”, you wouldn’t have known that until you went to your first party with them.  So that’s where you stand with your residents.  You have to get them to that first event and show them how great it is!

Now that we’ve gone through why you should make efforts to drive attendance to your party, next I’ll cover how you can actually do that!

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Apartment Party: When and How Often?

Like I said in my last blog, many property managers just see resident events as something that has to be done, rather than viewing it as an opportunity to really achieve the goals of the community.  So because of that, the apartment party strategy is really just limited to one summer party a year.  Without going on a long rant about how having one party a year is a giant waste of money, let’s focus on those that truly “get it” and understand that this is creating a “community”, not just throwing some BBQ at your residents once a year!

And to establish “community”, you can’t limit interactions with and between your residents to just once a year.  Instead, it must be a consistent program that can actually have potentially to succeed with the goals you set before!  (Note: If you simply cannot commit the resources to make this happen, consider trying out an organization like Apartment Life!)  Before we discuss exact timing of events, I think it is important that you see any of this as an investment.  As we discussed before, the final goals of any resident retention program were more renewals, increased rents, and additional resident referrals.  All of these are revenue-based items.  But to achieve these items, it sometimes takes allocation of resources to achieve that!  This does not always have to be money, and in fact, often the biggest resource is simply time.  But that could mean actually hiring somebody, as your existing staff’s time is not unlimited.

So what we ultimately want to do is find a schedule that will give us the strongest return on investment, realizing that at a certain point, additional events/programs/etc  provide a declining benefit.  For example, increase from one event to four events per year and your ROI likely increases the entire time.  However, go from one event per week to 3 events per week probably does not give you a positive return on your investment.  In other words, there is a “sweet spot” where your efforts get the highest benefit!

Now I can’t tell you what the ideal number of events is, but I can tell you the probable rough minimum and maximum.  Let’s start with the minimum.  Let’s say you have two events per year…  If a resident cannot attend an event, that means it will have been an entire year since they attend again, likely destroying any connection they made from the prior event.  In other words, you can’t wait that long in between events, or you won’t form any sort of sense of community!  Also, the fewer events you have per year, the more generic they have to be, in order to reach the maximum number of residents.  Therefore, smaller niche parties, such as a finger-painting day gets shoved to the side.  Overall, my gut tells me that four events per year is about right.

As for maximum, again, I don’t have a strict answer for you, but I would definitely say you would be getting a negative ROI beyond an event per week.  At that point, the events have probably only a minor cost (i.e., movie night), but the labor is still significant, and the net benefit to your residents is minimal.  The only exception to that, however, would be for recurring events that were extremely minor.  For example, the show GLEE is extremely popular.  Setting up a weekly watching party would technically be an event per week before anything else was planned, but it requires such little effort (and possibly no labor), that you could easily go beyond one event per week.

Once we start getting to the maximum side of the spectrum, I do want to reiterate the fact that this is an investment!  So if your community wants to be a very social community and sees a positive ROI from having events that often, you will likely need a separate event coordinator, although that may be a part time situation.

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Apartment Party – Setting Your Goals

When many property managers think about an apartment party, many of them frankly don’t really delve into the process.  Instead, it is often simply a “we have to have a summer party; what should we do?”  So instead of using the apartment party to its greatest potential, it’s almost something that just needs to get scratched off the to-do list!

So what is the first step in throwing a successful apartment party?  Well first, we must back up and see the big picture!  I know, when you are ready to start planning an event, the last thing you want is to pause and strategize.  But I promise you, taking the time to strategize will help you immensely with retention!

Let’s think about what the goals of the event are.  Even better, what are the goals of the retention plan overall?

-     Increased Renewals

  • Improve value proposition from your residents’ point of view
  • Expand your residents’ feeling of comfort and safety in their home
    • More emotional connections between your residents and each other, the community, and your team.
  • Increase your residents’ enjoyment in your community
  • Create barriers to exit
  • Make it easier to renew through technology and other factors
  • Limit residents’ entering the market for a competing housing solution

-     Rent Increases For Renewals

-     Additional Resident Referrals

-     Better Understanding of Resident Needs and Wants

-     Better Understanding of Resident Concerns

(This is not a complete list – please only use it to get conversation started, not as final goal list for your community!)

As you can see, there are a lot of goals and subgoals on that list, and frankly, that could be the tip of the iceberg!  Now granted, many of these may not apply to the social aspect of apartment parties, so once you have a full list of all your goals, we must take that list and apply those that are most in line with what are trying to accomplish!

Just looking at this partial list, we can see some obvious goals that are in line with resident events.  For example, enhancing emotional connection is clearly obtainable at your parties.  Also, resident referrals are clearly possible, as well as communication-based goals, such as understanding needs, wants, and concerns!

Once you start looking at your apartment community events in the framework of your goals, it will really clarify what you need to do!

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Apartment Party – The Background Story

Apartment Party has been a long time in the making, actually.  My first foray into the apartment property management industry was planning and running apartment parties.  It was a short lived company, with a pretty bad name (Houston Social Scene), but we had some fun while it lasted!  After that, I worked on-site for the first time at some apartment communities in the Houston area, again helping to plan apartment parties.

Depending on who you ask, resident events are either a complete waste of time or the key to a sense of community.  I tend to be in the latter category, as I’ve always felt relationships between residents was always the defining differentiator between apartment communities, that could never be replicated by another community down the street.  If a resident feels alone and isolated in their community, what is truly keeping them from leaving?  Of course, a lot more goes into resident retention, such as strong maintenance, but here we are going to focus on creating a sense of community through an apartment party.

This site is actually a companion to our sister site, ResidentEvents.com, which allows property managers to find, share, and rate apartment party ideas!  So we hope you will also check that out for specific ideas!

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