A few weeks ago at the NMHC OpTech conference, a big emphasis was placed on mobile strategies beyond apps for residents. For example, solutions for apartment maintenance technicians and due diligence apps for multifamily acquisitions were interesting options. But let's take this option to our resident events. Imagine if we had a iPad app where the "host(ess)" could welcome each new resident and enter them into a simple system for who attended an event. We could then gauge each resident's engagement level with the community by attendance, track their guests (who are potential prospects), and identify how effective our events were in the retention process! If this was tied into a social media-based resident portal, the app could also import pictures and attempt to tag all attendees seen in the pictures, or at the very least, give the on-site team a list of attendees to pick from to tag the pictures themselves.
Taking this a step further, the app could make friend requests within the resident portal based upon mutual tags within the same picture. For example, if Joe Snider from apartment #428 and Harriette Bilmun from apartment #715 were tagged in the same picture, there is a chance that they were sitting at the same table and chatted during the party. But in a normal event setting it is very likely that they did not trade phone numbers or email addresses, so that connection is potentially lost. But with new technology-based capabilities like this, the system could send them an email that they were tagged in a picture, and ask if they would like to connect with each other in the system! Suddenly, we have taken a tenuous, short-term connection and potentially developed a longer-term connection between two residents.
To date, our data-mining and tracking systems for events are subpar, where we play a guessing game of who attended what event and whether that event was successful in its goals. But mobile technology allows us to track these elements much better to determine whether our event strategy is on the right track!
It is amazing how much time we take trying to brainstorm new apartment party ideas, and yet so often we are simply off-base. So why not do something incredibly simple to find out what your residents are interested in - just ask. On a Monday, send out a one-question survey to your residents asking one question: "What did you do last weekend?" With this simple strategy, you will find out whether your residents are bar people, like live music, enjoy lounging at a coffee shop, hanging out with friends, are movie-goers, etc, etc, etc. Use this invaluable data to create event strategies for your residents based upon their actual entertainment preferences rather than simply dream up events based upon your own interests.