No Space for Resident Events?


I am a really big believer in resident events.  The challenge we run into at some of our properties is the lack of common space or amenities.  In fact, some of our buildings don’t even have a lobby! {Gasp}

So how do you create a sense of community without a space to commune?  Get creative.  One way is to create a conversation spark in the locations where casual collisions are going to occur.  The first place that comes to mind is the mailbox area, followed by the elevator and then laundry room.

Post a daily joke, inspirational story or quote or a ‘would you rather’ scenario.  It doesn’t have to be difficult; you just need to be consistent.


Take it outside

WCS Football (9)Another pseudo community event that always worked great for me was the community sponsoring either a softball or kickball team or bocce or maybe pinochle.  The community paid for the entry fee and the T-shirts {with company logo, of course} and the residents just had to show up and play.  It’s like hosting 12 community events for the price of one! Again, great content for social media!

Trust us, this provides no shortage of awesome photos.  And, we’ve noticed, other residents that want to play but can’t for one reason or another, will show up and cheer or at least drink with the team post game!  The beauty of this is you pay for the league once and get 8-12 events out of it! It’s a bargain!


The baked potato effect


On a budget?  No worries.  There are ways to stretch that dollar!

When I was in FL I had a weekly barbecue.  My property only supplied the baked potatoes and the condiments {Sour cream, butter & cheese for the potatoes, ketchup & mustard, plates and napkins for the other food} and the resident’s brought their own meat.

The first event only had 4 or 5 people, but by the end of the summer, it was truly a community event-40-50 people every Wednesday!!  The great thing was, all the regulars made friends and became reliant on the community to be their social activity director. It gave me an audience to ask for reviews and the residents were all happy so they wrote fantastic reviews because, you know, I was feeding them!  The cost was minimal because we just went to Sam’s for insanely large bottles of ketchup.  At the peak of the events we were spending less than $40/week.


Bring in some outside help

There are tons of local businesses that are all too happy to cross-market with you.  I had a pizza joint that would come to my property the first Thursday of every month and sell $5 pizzas at the mailbox.  I didn’t have to do anything!  The pizza place captured business on a slower night and gained some loyal customers.  The residents were offered the convenience of the dinner at their door. I imagine with the right outreach you could partner with an ice cream shop in the summer months or maybe a popular food truck…whatever appeals to your demographic.


OR take your business to them


Does a local bar have a trivia night? Organize a community take over night! Is there a swanky new bar or coffeehouse opening in your neighborhood? Sponsor the happy hour for your residents.  Again, the investment is just for the 2 drinks that you buy for each of your residents and maybe some appetizers.  Everything else: music, ambiance, entertainment, is covered by the bar.  We did this at one of our properties.  The day before we delivered invites to each apartment door with 2 gold coins that they could turn in for drinks.  At the end of the night, we only had to pay for the drinks consumed.  Just an upgrade on the drink ticket idea.   Again, this is a win-win for you and the new business.


Breakfast High Five Line

A trend that is hitting DC is morning dance parties.  Clubs and bars are opening early in the morning and folks are getting their summer-of-love-brunswick-house-resident-eventgroove on before heading to the office.  The logistics of this idea defy me, {me going to the office sweaty would be bad for everyone} but I love the spirit of it!  For WC Smith’s #SummerOfLove campaign we modified this idea just a bit.  We camped on the sidewalk outside of another building with no lobby, blasted some music, wore some ridiculous outfits, had coffee and bagels waiting and as residents headed out the front door on their commute they hit a high five line.  As did anyone heading to the metro.  Even if you’re not a morning person, 90’s music, caffeine, and carbs are sure to kick off your day in the right direction!

Whatever you are doing, capturing photos has to be a priority! That doesn’t mean you need to hire a professional photographer, {although for your biggest event of the year, this is a smart splurge} Instead, give the attendees some sort of photo op…that can be as simple as signs cheering on their team or the team t-shirts themselves …and a hashtag. Always suggest a hashtag!


Resident Retention is the most overlooked segment of multifamily marketing. Make it a priority this summer!



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