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There Is Such a Thing as Bunny, Goat, or Puppy Yoga And We Suggest You Do It

 

Ready to really throw a twist on a common event!? Introducing Bunny, Puppy, or Goat Yoga!  And yes, we mean real goats, puppies, and bunnies attending yoga with you.

We’ve talked about the importance of crafting unique and memorable experiences for your residents and this event is sure to deliver. It’s just like a regular yoga class, except there are adorable little animals running around. Which basically sounds like heaven, right? So, to create this memorable experience we’ll need to first decide where this event will take place. If your community has an enclosed gym or yoga room this will be the perfect place. The location will need to be enclosed in order to keep the animals in the room with the attendees. Once you have selected your space you will need to gather yoga mats. The amount will vary depending on the number of attendees. If your community has yoga mats already, perfect! But we suggest encouraging attendees to bring their own as well.

The next component to this event is obviously the yoga instructor! Hire a local yoga instructor or reach out to residents to find an instructor willing to join in on this fun event.

Now that the scene is set, it’s time to get the animals! We suggest getting the animals from a local goat farm, rabbit rescue, or animal shelter. Again, the number of animals will depend on the number of attendees but around 10-15 animals is suggested.

Not only is this a fun event to get your community talking, but it is also a great way to incorporate fundraising for local animal shelters. Some ideas include:

  • Working with the local shelter and all dogs/bunnies adopted that day will have their pet fee waived.
  • If attendees post a photo or video on social media using a specific hashtag we will donate a certain amount of money to the shelter.

 

Color Dodgeball: Add Some Color To A Classic Event

Dodgeball is a fun event that is played at many student housing communities across the country. At Cardinal Group we look to take all of our events to the next level to create remarkable experiences. Dodgeball is no different. Color Dodgeball takes elements from a classic dodgeball game and the popular 5K Color Run to create an epic new event. During this event teams will play dodgeball but with paint-soaked balls! Keep reading to find out how you can pull this fun event on the cheap!

Basic Event Setup

This event can be done for as little as $125 with a basic setup (although we recommend you go for creating a remarkable experience with the Epic version). Find a grassy area at your community. It should be away from areas where balls could possibly break windows. Once you’ve selected your area use the spray chalk can to outline the play area. You can use THIS image as a guide but you can make your arena any size. Once the arena is set place 3 black buckets at the far boundary line of each side and fill with one color of chalk paint (don’t put all the paint in the buckets in case of an accidental spill). Participants will use these buckets to dip dodgeballs in during play. Either provide players with white t-shirts or ask them to come ready to play in their own white t-shirt. This will ensure the paint really pops on their clothing. Boom you’re all set up! Now just play a fun dodgeball tournament! Keep reading below to find out how you can amplify this event even more!

Epic Event Setup

First, read the setup instructions of the “basic event setup”. You’ll want to begin setup the same way. Once you’ve completed the basic setup it’s time to get EPIC! Setup you PA system and/or DJ at the center line but outside the court. This will provide a fun and lively atmosphere. Next, you’ll want to set up your black lights. These industrial strength black lights work best if they are mounted at a height of at least 6-8 feet from the ground and angled down slightly. Your area may have poles, trees, or other things that you can mount to to get this height. If you don’t have these luxuries you can have your maintenance team build an apparatus to mount to. One simple way to build this mounting mechanism is to buy some rebar from your local home improvement store and drive them into the ground about 2 ft. Next, buy an 8ft long 2×4 and affix it to the rebar using screws and metal straps. Your 2×4 should now be erect in the air with support from the rebar it is affixed to. Finally, secure the black light at the top of the 2×4 with a long screw. Plug in your black lights and you’re ready to glow (pun intended)! Of course, the blacklights will only work in the dark so this event will need to be held at night. Check out this video of an event using these industrial black lights and paint! Highlighters glow extremely bright under blacklights and are very cheap. Set out highlighters for your participants to decorate their shirts and bodies.This

You can take this epic event up one more notch by having your maintenance team help you build walls at the back of your court. Use tape to mask off a cool design on your wall and then set them up at each end of the court. At the end of your event remove the tape and you should have a cool piece of art! Check out this video to see an example.

Basic Event Item Purchase List

Epic Event Item Purchase List

 

 

Show Everyone How GIFted You Are! How to Create a Custom GIF

Have a short and sweet message you need delivered to prospects or residents on the fly? Maybe you have a renewal deadline, new special, or awesome event you want everyone to attend. Or maybe even planning to send an e-blast and schedule a post on social media. Consider a custom GIF! This is a creative, out of the box idea to not only deliver your message to your target audience, but ensure it catches a lot of attention. Who doesn’t love a good GIF? And creating a custom GIF really is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Head over to Giphy.com and search for the perfect clip that fits your message. For example, if you are running a limited time gift card special, search “money” and you can choose your favorite image.
  2. To the right of the image you will click “Copy Link”. Select the GIF Link and copy.
  3. At the top of the page in a blue box you will then select “Create”. Paste your GIF in the URL box and it will revert you to the next page. Here you can type a caption, change the color or make the caption animated. There are a lot of editing options available to make your GIF special!
  4. When complete scroll to the bottom, select continue to upload. You will then select upload to Giphy. Here you will have options to save the GIF for social media posts or you can simply drag the GIF into an email in your Cardinal Gmail Account.
  5. Send and post and enjoy the social media LOVE.

Crafting Remarkable Experiences

At the end of every year, social media feeds become inundated with people’s top memories from the past 365 days. These memories are often highlights from the most memorable experiences that vary from life-changing events like a wedding to a small concert with their best friend.

Our industry has the unique ability to become an integral part of a person’s yearly story. Think about it, we are providing people’s homes where they spend between 46% of their daily lives. Remarkable experiences happen every day in our residents’ homes but rarely are apartment management companies the catalysts of these experiences. Sure, we may provide good customer service, keep grounds clean, and fix maintenance requests quickly but these things won’t make a year-end social media highlight reel.

So, why should you care about your community being featured on somebody’s Instagram Best Nine? Why does it matter if you create some epic experience when you already provide a great apartment home? Because these remarkable experiences will lead to a stronger more loveable brand, your community will stand for much more than a simple shelter, and ultimately you’ll sign more new leases and renewals.

When a resident is deciding on whether they will renew or not they will assess your community based on what psychologists call the “peak-end rule”. The peak-end rule states that a person will “judge an experience largely based on how they felt at its peak (i.e., its most intense point) and at its end, rather than based on the total sum or average of every moment of the experience.” The peak could be a good experience like a fantastic resident event or a poor experience like a flood. By crafting remarkable experiences throughout the year you have a better shot at creating a fantastic peak moment and thus a renewal.

Remarkable experiences can also help you attract new leases. When a prospect is thinking about where to live next they will only recall three to seven options. Creating remarkable experiences while marketing to prospects will help your community carve out a spot in the prospects consideration set. Not only will remarkable experiences help you stay top of mind but they’ll also help strengthen your brand story and provide an offering your competitors can’t match. You may not have the ability to alter price,layout, or location, but you do have the ability to create remarkable experiences at your community

OK, so you’re ready to craft some epic experiences. Where do you start? Remarkable experiences should take place in as many touch points as possible including customer service, lease signings, and resident events. Having said this, events are probably the easiest place to start. When thinking through the events that you hold for residents and prospects follow the simple MISS rule. By integrating each part of MISS you’re sure to be on your way to crafting a remarkable experience.

MEMORABLE

In order for an experience to become remarkable it must be memorable. There isn’t a single formula to crafting a memorable experience but implementing one or more of the tactics below will help lead to one.

  • Manufacture something that is 100% unique. Unique experiences are more memorable because they easily stand above the noise. For example, your community could hold a Zombie Laser Tag tournament. This is a unique event that likely no one has experienced and thus makes it more memorable than an average event.
  • Elevate a normal experience. Elevating a standard experience to the next level can which makes it more memorable. For example, most people have been bowling before but have never gone human-sized cosmic bowling. Combining some human-sized inflatable orbs, giant bowling pins, black lights, and some glow tape/paint creates an epic and memorable event. Check out some inspiration below.
  • Surprise your audience. Surprises are unexpected and thus become more memorable. For example, many apartment communities hold casino nights with various casino type games. If you hold this type of event surprise attendees by telling them the person at the end of the night with the most chips wins a free weekend in Las Vegas AND they leave that night! This event instantly becomes more memorable because of this surprise.

INTERACTIVE

A great experience is interactive. Many events apartment communities hold are very passive. Breakfast on the go, movie nights, Waffle Wednesday, and National Ice Cream Day are all very passive in nature. Residents come down, grab a bite, maybe chat with another resident for a minute and then are gone. These events don’t encourage or require attendees to become part of the event itself. Interactive events make better experiences because the attendee is engulfed in the experience instead of a wall fly.

A great example of an interactive experience is Paint Dodgeball. Find a grassy area (or other area that won’t be permanently affected by paint), dip dodgeballs in paint, and play dodgeball in white clothing. Elevate the experience with some black lights and glow paint! This event requires people to become part of the action and thus is much more memorable than a more passive event.

SENSORY

Develop experiences that involve as many senses as possible. Experiences that are sensory rich become more interesting because of these stimuli. The elements that play into each sense also play a big part in the overall execution of the event. For example, on-site concerts often only focus on sound. Of course, sound is extremely important but implementing sight, touch, taste, and smell can turn a run-of-the-mill concert into a much better experience. Think of all of the concerts that now include color powder cannons, light shows, themed food, and beach balls floating in the crowd.

Just as the music industry has embraced all five senses so should we. Think about the pool parties most apartment communities hold. Think through how elements of the event can affect the senses. A hot local DJ or band can provide a pleasant listening experience. A frozen slushie machine in a custom branded flavor can amplify the tastes at the event. The smell of BBQ wafts through the air. Misting stations fulfill the touch sense by keeping attendees cool. Oh, and if you move the entire party to a lake or river and float everything you have an unexpected visual.

STORY

Last but not least, the experience you develop should tell a story about your brand. Holding an event that doesn’t tie into your brand’s core offering or story won’t help amplify what your community stands for. Instead, it injects brand confusion and doesn’t help separate you from your competitors. For example, if your community’s brand story is to offer a luxury VIP lifestyle it doesn’t make sense to offer free doughnuts for a Breakfast on the Go event. Doughnuts in no way tie into either a luxury or VIP lifestyle. Instead t, is community should offer an invite/RSVP only brunch on the rooftop featuring a cooking class from a hot local chef, champagne, and someone playing guitar. This event adds a chapter to their brand story further illustrating the brand’s purpose.

While it may seem difficult to shake away from the lifeless experiences our industry typically offers,  it is imperative we do so. We have a unique opportunity to craft remarkable experiences that meld into our core offering, their home. In 2018 I challenge each team to think strategically about the experiences they offer their residents and prospects. Experiences that are so good that at the end of 2018 your residents and prospects are posting an experience from your community in their Instagram best nine. Start by creating remarkable event experiences. I promise putting in the time to these experience will create real value at your community. If you have any questions or examples of remarkable experiences you’ve created please comment below or send me an email!

Cheers to a remarkable 2018!

How Reviews Improve Your SEO

You’ve heard how important reviews are. 86.3% of renters use online reviews as a factor when looking to rent an apartment. But did you know these reviews can also help improve your community’s SEO? Better SEO can ultimately lead to more website traffic and eventually leases.

Reviews are a very important ranking factor in local search results. In fact, Chatmeter says that reviews make up 13% of the local search algorithm. This means if someone is searching for an apartment in your area via local search and you have a lot of positive reviews your community is more likely to show up. Many things play into your review ranking on local search such as review volume, recency, quality of review (i.e. length), and if you respond to reviews. If you stick with Cardinal Group’s goals of 2% of reviews of your total resident base and all reviews replied to within 48 hours you’ll be well on your way to giving your SEO a boost!

Encourage User-Generated Content With A Hashtag Printer

The single most beneficial thing you can do for your community on social media is to get others to post about your community. Sure, posting photos of last night’s event or advertising your latest special on your community’s social channels is important, but it is not nearly as valuable as user-generated content. When a user posts a photo of your community, raves about an event, or simply shows their home in the background they are exposing their followers to your brand. By encouraging user-generated content you’ll expand your social reach way beyond your current fan base. If that wasn’t enough consumers are much more likely to make a purchase if a friend posts something positive about a brand on social media.

So how do you encourage more user-generated content? There are many many ways but a fun and easy one is through a Hashtag printer. Simply program the printer to print our a photo anytime someone uses a certain hashtag. For example, if you have a pool party and tell guests to use #BlissPoolParty the printer would automatically print out a photo of their post on social media using this hashtag. You can even design the background to match your branding!

Below is a list of the equipment you’ll need to create this Hashtag Printer come true!

Printer

Extra Ink

Extra Photo Paper

Computer Software

How to Utilize Resident Text Alerts through Rent Cafe!

If your community is taking advantage of the resident text alerts program through Rent Cafe, here’s a short video on how residents can opt-in and how to create and send a message!

This is a great program to easily and quickly get in contact with residents in regards to important building info, emergencies, events, or specials!

How To Use Instagram’s New Polling Feature To Take An Instant Pulse Of Your Community

Instagram recently rolled out a new feature that allows you to poll followers in your story. Prepare a post for your story just like you would normally. When ready place the new polling sticker anywhere on your post. From there you can customize the question and answers. Once you post to your story you can begin collecting answers. To view your answers simply swipe up to view the viewers list on that part of your story. You’ll be able to see live results and who voted for which option.

This feature is fantastic to get a quick pulse from your residents and followers outside of a formal survey. Use it to poll on things like what event to have, what kind of coffee they want to see in the coffee machine, preferences in upgraded vs standard units, and so much more. The possibilities are endless!

Want to learn more about this new feature? Click HERE to find Instagram’s official press release.

Event Idea: Zombie Apocalypse Laser Tag

Halloween will be here before you know it! If you still need a unique event idea we’ve got you covered! Every event your community puts on should aim to be a unique and memorable experience and this event delivers. Below you’ll learn how to throw a zombie-themed laser tag at your community at a budget any and every community can afford!

To create this memorable experience we’ll need to set up an apocalyptic war zone for the laser tag event to take place. It is best to set this war zone up in an area that has clear boundaries so players know where the event takes place. The size of the space depends on the number of players you’ll have playing at once but in general, it shouldn’t be bigger than a football field. The location will also vary depending on what your community has to work with. Ideas include a level of a parking garage (cars should be removed to avoid potential damage), open or wooded area at the community, tennis or basketball court, or gymnasium.

Once you have selected your space clearly define where the play area will be. If you’re using a parking garage or fenced in basketball/tennis court this should be pretty easy. If you’re using an open area or wooded area you may want to buy something like caution tape to rope off the play area. Once the play area is defined you’ll want to set up obstacles and bases to give the space some dimension and avoid a bunch of people in an open space randomly shooting at each other. Because this is supposed to look like a war zone there are many items your community may already have that can be used as obstacles. Examples of great scene setting obstacles you may already have on-site are dumpsters, shuttle buses, pallets, large cardboard boxes, oil barrels, particle board, old fencing, large trash cans, folding tables propped on their sides, shopping cards, etc. In addition to things you find at the community you might want to buy additional things to set the scene like a fog machine, white sheets draped over a clothesline, body bags, strobe lights, blacklights, etc. The whole goal with your setup is to set the mood/scene as a zombie apocalyptic land and to give bases, bunkers, and objects to hide around. Use Pinterest as a resource to find DIY decorations ideas. You can also rent blow up bunkers HERE.

Now that the scene is set it is time to organize the games. In order to have an actual laser tag game, you’ll need laser guns! You can rent them HERE. This website has many different kinds of guns but we suggest the Battle Rifle ($35 per gun) but smaller budgets may only be able to afford Ultimate LTX ($16 per gun) or Hornet ($12 per gun). Depending on the size of the community and the size of the event you predict we’d suggest doing teams of 12 for 24 total guns. Setup the guns just outside of the play zone where the official will go over the rules and divide participants into teams. Rules will also depend on what type of game you want to play. There are several game types you can find outlined HERE.

That is a quick overview of the event. Below you’ll find more tips on how to create a better, more memorable experience.

  • Rent 3-4 industrial strength black lights HERE. Mount them up high (8′ or so) so they cover the most area possible. Cover obstacles in blacklight tape, provide highlighters to participants to draw on their skin, purchase glow sticks from a dollar store, and include other glow decor.
  • Source large cardboard boxes from retailers like furniture stores, appliance stores, etc. Or you can purchase cardboard boxes from Home Depot or ULine.com. You can stack and tape multiple boxes together to create a cheap and large obstacle/bunker. Go the extra mile and spray paint graffiti on the boxes to give it that apocalypse type feel.
  • Hang a clothesline, rope, or string on a section of your battlefield. Drape a large white sheet over from a thrift store or Walmart over this line. Get some red paint, dip hands in red paint, and put bloody handprints all over the sheet.
  • Head to a local tire shop and see if there are any completely used tires you can have for free.
  •  Hire a local makeup artist to do zombie makeup on attendees.
  • Use CIs or hire local people to dress up in zombie garb and randomly scare people during the game.
  • Create a Snapchat filter to run during the event.
  • Encourage attendees to post via social media and a particular hashtag for a chance to win haunted house tickets.
  • Partner with a local bar to sponsor a free keg at the community with an after party zombie crawl at their location.