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How to Have a Successful Resident Event

Let’s face it, we’ve all been here. We plan for a big event that we think will be a huge success. We invest a lot of time, money, and effort into an event where well no one shows up. It stinks right? We get discouraged and start avoiding putting on resident events altogether or just sticking to the basic Taco Tuesday and Free Food Friday’s where you know residents will come.

But have you ever really thought about why that event may not have been successful? In today’s student housing market, it’s going to be hard to please everyone. But through understanding YOUR market you can begin to host events that fit into your community’s interest.

I have put together 5 keys to pulling off a successful resident event.

1.Know Your Community

While a concert on the lake sounds like an amazing event, that’s not going to work for every community geographically or demographically. Find out what your residents have in common. Do they like sports-centered or fitness geared events? Are they more into adventurous outdoor activities? Surveys or polls can help you identify their interests. Create a private Facebook Page only for residents of the community and really get to know one another and each individual’s interests. This is a simple way to give you a great understanding of how to provide the best possible customer service to your residents.

2.Advertise Wisely and Get the Word Out

Yes, it’s important to create flyers to post around the community, but it’s also important to interact with your residents to promote the event. Throughout the week or weeks leading up to the event give sneak peaks into the setup and planning to get residents excited. This could be through Instagram live stories or Snapchat stories.

3.Involve Residents in Planning

It has been said people place a higher value on things they help create. This goes for resident events as well. Seek out residents who may be interested in helping plan the event. Maybe they have insight into what they want to see in a successful event.

4.Take Lots of Photos and Video

We want every event to be Instagram worthy for residents! Use these photos and videos on your community’s social media channels. Remember, the higher quality the photos and videos the more likely the residents are to share them on their own channels.

5. Learn from Each Event

Maybe this event wasn’t the biggest or best. BUT, you can take the results from this event and learn for the next one. Take a post-survey to find out what residents liked or disliked and apply this feedback to your next event.

We hope this helps when it comes to planning your next big resident event! It is important that through every resident event we are attracting new residents, retaining old ones, and developing a positive reputation in the area. And remember, the more you put into the event, the more you will get out of it.

Talk Derby To Me

The Kentucky Derby is May 4th & 5th and even if you don’t know a thing about horse races, you can still throw a killer party in honor of this historic sporting event. Your residents will love this spring themed party, I mean who doesn’t want to break out their best hat, bow tie, and sip on mint juleps while watching horses run in a circle? Sound like something you want to try out at your community?

Here are some tips and a list of essentials to get started below!

The first step is to think about where you would host this event and how it fits into your community. Do you have a space that offers tv’s to watch the derby, but also enough space to entertain guests with food, drinks, and games.

A few spots come to mind:

  • Rooftop Deck-This would be my first choice especially if this space has TVs.
  • Clubhouse-Almost every community has a clubhouse where they host resident events. If you go this route, use greenery and roses to make this feel like an outdoor party.
  • Pool Deck-You could turn this into a pool party inspired event featuring your own Unicorn Float Races!

Here is a list of things you will need to pull off your very own derby party!

Shopping List:

Decor

Food & Drinks

*Most of the food can be catered, but get creative with it based on what your residents like. We do not expect you to make this food from scratch but do keep in mind a classic southern style menu when hosting this event and steer clear of the pizza party vibe. 

Keep in mind the aesthetics when putting together this and future events. The more you put into it the better return you will receive from your residents. We want every event to be an “Instagrammable” moment that your residents are proud to share!

Can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!

Xo-Tiff

The Best Floats to Add to Your Next Pool Party

Summer is right around the corner and with that comes pool parties! So we put together a list of the 11 coolest pool inflatables to add to your next pool party

1. Giant Inflat-A-Bull

Be brave and experience bull-riding on the edge.

Purchase Me!

2. 7′ Unicorn Sprinkler

The most magical way to cool off when the temps start to rise.

Purchase Me!

3. Pizza Slices Inflatables

The ultimate pizza for the ultimate pool party.

Purchase Me!

4. Giant Flamingo

Grab your friends and get some sun in this awesome float.

Purchase Me!

5. Donut Say No to This Pool Float

Because you can’t go wrong with a giant donut.

Purchase Me!

6. Water Wheel

Ever wanted to see what it’s like on a hamster wheel? Now’s your chance.

Purchase Me!

7. Pineapple Inflatable Cooler

Keep your drinks cool without ever leaving the pool.

Purchase Me!

8. Rosé Floaté

Why not Rosé all day with this pool float.

Purchase Me!

9. Mermaid Tail

Don’t you want to Gram yourself as a Mermaid?

Purchase Me!

10. Pink Convertable Float

Arrive to the pool in style in this retro pink convertible float. Let’s go over the specs of this ride: Queen sized daybed for 2, massive front cooler for ice, drinks, or your speaker, dual cup holders, and each float purchased from this site provides one person a year of clean drinking water!!

Purchase Me!

11. Yacht Float

“Everybody look at me, ’cause I’m sailing on a boat!”

Purchase Me!

 

BONUS

You can’t buy this pre-made but man would it be fun!  Battleship Beer Pong! Tape 3 pool noodles together to create a large ring, like THIS. Then fill the ring with drink floaties like THIS. When someone makes a cup in a floatie remove that floatie! There are probably one hundred other ways you could DIY a similar concept! Get creative!

Image result for battleship beer pong

 

 

 

 

 

Online Reputation: How It Plays Into a Renters Search

 

How crazy is it that we live in a world where we have unlimited information at our fingertips? Seriously, no matter what industry you are in, you can hop on Google and be a self-taught “expert” at something in no time. This is also the case for our industry. Someone can Google our communities and know just as much about the property as the leasing agent does before they even walk through the door. This isn’t always a bad thing, especially if your community has an amazing online presence, great reviews, quality photos, etc; but for a majority of us, this isn’t the case.

With the power of the internet and social networking sites, the consumer now plays a large role in our communities success. The days of resolving problems with unhappy customers face to face is long gone and now if a problem arises, the first place they look to rant, isn’t over the phone, it’s on the web! If sites like Google, ApartmentRatings.com, and Yelp weren’t enough, adding social media sites like Facebook and Twitter in the mix allows prospects to share their experience with their entire network of friends. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing, unless your BIG REPUTATION, isn’t as squeaky clean as Tswifts.

The ability for consumers to review your business shouldn’t be a scary thing, there are many positive reviews out there being posted daily that help drive traffic to our communities. Let’s go over some stats:

  • 92% of consumers read online reviews.
  • Businesses with mostly 1 & 2-star reviews fail to convert about 90% of their prospective customers.
  • Every star a business loses will cost them 5%-9% of their revenue.
  • When JTurner surveyed 17,000 students and asked “Do you utilize online reviews in your apartment search? 86% answered Yes.
  • A bad review reaches 2x as many people as a positive one.
  • 45% of consumes SHARE negative reviews on social media & 63% of consumers READ negative reviews on social media. (As if people don’t share enough on social media these days: recipes, animal videos, inspirational quotes, now they are sharing our negative reviews?? Great!)
  • The last and most important stat that stands out to me is 88% of consumers TRUST reviews just as much as a personal recommendation. 

All of this data can be overwhelming, but in a nutshell, all it’s saying is your online reputation DOES matter! People are looking at this when they are searching for an apartment and if we don’t stay on top of this, your community can get overlooked when it’s time to lease!

So let’s break this down into a few key points: 1.)How to get more reviews, 2.)Where to focus these reviews, and 3.)The importance of responding to these reviews.

How To Get Reviews

Sorry to break it to you, but there is no secret recipe for gaining reviews. The very best way to get a REAL positive review is just to ask. If your communities are providing great customer service and hosting memorable events then that is your secret sauce to getting positive reviews.

Hounding your residents while they are enjoying an event at the community isn’t the best place to solicit reviews. Instead, let them take in that experience and focus your time on making sure that everyone attending is having a great time. After the event is over you can guarantee days later these residents will be in the office to pick up packages, pay rent, etc. This is your time to engage them, and ask how they felt about the event, did they enjoy themselves, inform them of more upcoming events, and then mention leaving a review or sharing their experience on social media.

There are so many opportunities throughout the year to ask residents to leave a review, for instance after they have moved in and turn in a satisfied inventory and condition form (that’s your cue!) Or after maintenance responded to a work order and went above and beyond their expectations (again, that’s your cue!) ask away during these positive moments.

Prospects can be a little trickier to get reviews out of, but they are also some of the first to write a negative review if our customer service didn’t meet their expectations. This is why it’s so important to stay on top of our CWOL and engaging the customer on a more personal level. At the end of the tour, the prospect should feel comfortable talking to you and this trust should only build as you help them begin their application. Making things easy for our consumers gives them a great talking point when we ask them to write a review about their leasing experience. For example, Prospects can’t say “I love living here, my apartment is beautiful, I love maintenance, etc. But they can say “ Just signed a lease at ____ apartments, the application and leasing process was all online and super quick, can’t wait to move in!” This is the type of review you should try to gain from your prospects.

Where to Leave a Review

Trying to get your ORA score up and reach the Top 1% list? There actually is a science to it! Did you know that asking everyone to leave you a review on Google only can actually hurt your score? For example, if you are currently at a 65 ORA score and you received 15 new Google reviews and 2 new Yelp reviews for the month, but you noticed your score didn’t change, here’s why. If you have 100+ Google reviews, then the 15 new ones you just received, aren’t going to help out your score very much. But if you only have 5 total Yelp reviews on your account and you would have asked those 15 Google reviewers to post on Yelp instead, your score would have increased. The fewer reviews you have on a site, the more impact reviews will make. Be strategic about where you need these reviews the most, and then focus your month on obtaining reviews for that specific site, this will help boost your ORA score and increase your online reputation.

The Importance of Responding

Ensuring we are responding to positive and negative reviews within 24-48 hours of it being posted is the Cardinal standard. Think about it this way, if there is a negative review that sits unanswered this gives the unhappy customer more time to spread their feelings throughout other sites. Sticking to this timeframe will also keep others from chiming in on your behalf and adding fuel to the fire. The same rule applies when it comes to positive reviews as well. If someone has taken the time to leave a review that speaks highly of your community, it’s our job to recognize them and let them know that we value their feedback. It’s important to keep in mind that if we are promptly responding to these reviews, we will gain control of our online reputation.
Sample:

Here is an example where a resident shared a negative experience on Nov. 2nd. This review received likes from 2 other people and back and forth conversations with an outsider before the onsite team responded 10 days later on Nov. 12th. If the team would have responded immediately, they could have dealt with this situation offline and this could have saved this issue from escalating.

We focus so much attention on making sure we have the best possible online presence, from our websites looking and performing at their best, to our social media pages depicting the lifestyle and feel of the community, but the one thing we can’t manipulate is our online reputation. This reputation isn’t something that is created by us, instead, it’s created by consumers that have had experiences with our business and it’s our job to make sure this experience is worth talking about, positively!!

Event Idea: Rotten Egg Hunt

 

We all know Easter Egg Hunts are soo elementary school. You hunt for eggs and all you get is candy. But what if there was an Easter Egg Hunt for adults? Where you have no idea what will be in the eggs you find. Maybe there’s some booze, some bacon, some condoms, or the normal chocolate. Introducing the Rotten Egg Hunt!

Residents will love the creative twist on this event and its perfect for college students! It is also relatively inexpensive to put on.

Event Item List

  • Easter Eggs. These can be purchased at your local grocery or party store.
  • Adult Surprises. Some examples are booze, bacon, condoms, chocolate. Really you can put whatever you’d like in the eggs!

It is important to market this event a couple weeks prior to the event and create an event on FB for residents to RSVP. This way you will know how many residents to expect and how many Easter eggs and surprises to buy.

Event Setup

This is a pretty simple set up! Purchase all Easter eggs and surprises to stuff the Easter eggs with. Fill all Easter eggs with the surprises. Next, hide all the Easter eggs throughout the community. It is suggested to do this event outside and have all the eggs hidden on the outside of the community. Now you’re ready for the rotten egg hunt! Gather all residents outside the community and go over how this event will take place. Will there be a time limit? Will there be a prize for the resident who finds to most eggs? That’s up to you!

Have a local bar or restaurant sponsor this event and have some food and drinks following the event!

Ready to put on this event for your residents!? An RFC can be put in HERE

Event Idea: Night Volleyball!

Most communities have a sand volleyball court and with the warm weather quickly approaching residents will start using this amenity more and more. Sand volleyball is always fun for residents, but most of the time they are playing during the day. So we thought to take it to the next level and play at NIGHT. This is simple to put on using string lights. It is suggested to have residents create teams and sign up in the office. A tournament bracket can then be created for the amount of teams signed up and there can be prizes for the winning teams.

Read below to see how to put on the relatively inexpensive event!

Event Item List

  • String lights. These can be strung through the volleyball net and around the court.
  • Glow volleyball. This can be purchased on Amazon Here.

Event Setup

First, purchase all items needed to put on this event. You will want to begin the set up with stringing the lights through the volleyball net. This will light up the court enough for players to be able to see. Next, you will want to place string lights around the outside of the court. This way players will be know where the out of bounds is. Finally, create the tournament bracket and play volleyball!

It would be a good idea to cater in some food and hire a DJ to get the most out of this event for your residents! Make a night of it and get your residents talking about this experience!