The connection between resident events and retention can never be underestimated. However for many property management companies there are typically two major challenges. The first challenge is usually the budget. That is certainly understandable. Communities are still dealing with lean budgets which can make it a challenge to put together an event that is memorable and that residents will actually want to attend. The other challenge is typically the creativity process. Communities that have a decent budget for resident events may be having a hard time coming up with ideas that will attract their residents to the function and create that sense of community.
Brent Williams recently started a new website called ResidentEvents.com. We all certainly have come to love MulitfamilyInsiders.com very much due to its amazing wealth of super smart multifamily professionals sharing their unique insights with one another. We can only expect that ResidentEvents.com will continue to be part of Brent’s legacy and commitment to our wonderful industry. About a month ago I had the opportunity to interview Brent about his new website. Check out the conversation below.
J-So Brent you have recently launched a new site for multifamily called ResidentEvents.com. Can you tell us what inspired you to bring this project to life?
B-Thanks for asking, Jonathan. Although I don’t have specific stats for it, a very high percentage of communities have some sort of event every year, whether it is a summer party, breakfast on-the-go, or some other event. Some communities ramp this up to an event every month or even every week! And from my own experience working in property management, I realized that although the industry has some incredibly creative people working on-site, planning parties is not their primary job responsibility. So here they are trying to plan an event, but maybe not having a lot of experience and ideas in doing so. So this is a way to collaboratively create party ideas across the industry. On-site teams can share the interesting ideas they have been working with, as well as find and rate other ideas from other apartment communities across the country.
J-What are your overall goals for the website and how do you think this will benefit the multifamily industry?
B-I really want to step up the level of apartment parties. I don’t want on-site teams having a luau just because that’s all they could think up. And beyond the theme, I want to show all the other aspects to making an effective event. So many communities have a summer party just because that’s somehow the norm, but what I want to do is inspire them to create goals with their events so they have a measurable, long-term impact.
J-Are there any challenges specifically you have noticed that communities have with resident events?
B-I would say the vast majority of communities unfortunately do the minimum: Food, simple theme, and DJ. They don’t understand why they should actually promote their apartment party, how to create goals that are measurable, how to get long-term residual value from these events, and so on. But I think the biggest challenge is having the community think about why they are having an event; what they actually hope to accomplish. Because once you do that, you start to put everything in that context. For example, if you have a renewal party but you can’t entice anybody to show up, how effective is it going to be? And if they do show up, how do you make sure that the event best translates to lease renewals? Once a community understands the “why” part of having an event, they start understanding the “how” a lot better!
J-Thanks Brent for your contributions to the industry and for launching a site that will surely be a valuable resource for all.
So if you have not checked out the site as of yet, I highly recommend you do so. Resident Events is also on Facebook so be sure to give the page a “like”. Carefully calculated dollars spent on resident retention have always been fundamental to a successful community. From a numbers perspective it is still economically sound to work at keeping a resident than to have to replace a resident. I would love your feedback in the comment section below. In what ways have you experienced heightened resident retention as a result of your community events?
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Written by Jonathan Saar
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