Affordable and unique ways aplenty to engage residents this holiday season.
The holidays are a great time to take advantage of all an apartment community has to offer! From decorating the common areas to hosting holiday-themed events, there are plenty of ways to get residents in the spirit of the season.
“Resident experience” is the hot topic in the multifamily industry these days, and for good reason: Achieving a positive resident experience can lead to achieving more renewals and new leases.
Importantly, a significant factor in creating a positive resident experience is fun resident events. However, it can be difficult for a property to host regular, planned events, especially if it’s small- or mid-sized.
To help you fill out a resident event calendar for the upcoming holiday season, here are some affordable and unique ideas bound to bring a spark of joy to an apartment community.
1. Decorate the leasing office or host a decorating party.
Some residents don’t have the storage space for their own holiday decorations, so why not make a fun resident event to involve the community all while decorating your leasing office for the season?
One of the best things about living in multifamily housing is that no one must go it alone when it comes to holiday decorating. Pooling resources among neighbors is a great way to make a big impact without breaking the bank.
Ideas to get started include organizing a decorating committee comprised of residents and staff then put out a call for volunteers and start brainstorming ideas!
2. Set up volunteer opportunities or host charity events.
Often, people want to volunteer and lend a helping hand to others, especially during the holiday season, but don’t know where to go or what to do. If your team figures out all of the details and sets up an easy volunteer opportunity for your residents, you may be surprised how many say, “Yes.”
For something hands-on and in-person, options include partnering with a local charity, food pantry or homeless shelter. For something simpler, organize a canned food, toy or clothing drive within the community. Coordinating a drive will be as easy as keeping a collection bin in the leasing office or lobby and getting the word out to residents through social media posts, flyers and emails.
To help increase the chances of more residents joining, offer a selection of dates for when they can volunteer if you’re doing an in-person event. The selected recipient organization will be appreciative of the support and your residents walk away feeling good about giving back to the community.
3. Host a holiday potluck and create a cookbook.
This idea is a cool twist on a classic resident event. At least a week before the potluck, have residents submit the recipes for the dish they will be bringing to the dinner and compile them all into a seasonal, winter cookbook. Then, give a copy to each resident at the end of the potluck. Not only will residents enjoy time together and a yummy dinner, but will also receive a special token they can take home and enjoy for years to come.
As an additional tip, the more it feels like a true cookbook, the more likely residents are to keep it on their shelf. It is further recommended to put your community or management company’s logo on it and giving the cookbook a fun, memorable name.
4. Make trendy wreaths or garlands.
This is a great winter-themed craft and activity that is relatively inexpensive and will get residents to come out and participate. This is because it is both a low-commitment and high-value event. For residents, there’s nothing better than free holiday home decor that will take less than 30 minutes. Plus, it also creates an opportunity to do a community-wide giveaway for the wreath that gets the most likes on social media after all are shared.
With tons of videos on YouTube that show how to make incredibly beautiful wreaths from supplies from discount retailers, it is hard to go wrong with this activity!
5. Build mini gingerbread houses.
The “mini” part of this resident event idea is key, because the idea of putting together a full-sized gingerbread house can easily feel overwhelming and time-consuming for residents. It’s understandable why they might then be deterred from the whole icing and gumdrop ordeal.
However, if it is a “mini” gingerbread house creation night, it’ll be much more enticing and unique. Who doesn’t like things that are mini? Not to mention, there’s no shortage of miniature-sized candy (possibly left over from Halloween) to grab for decoration.
This will be a fun, creative, hands-on event for the community that is family-friendly and suitable for residents of all ages. This is also another event to share on social media and have the audience vote on the prettiest (or funniest) mini gingerbread house for a special prize!
6. Host a post-holiday happy hour.
While a happy hour is a popular resident event, hosting one in celebration of the residents making it through the holiday season makes it super fun and unique. After all that decorating, shopping and cooking, who wouldn't want a drink? Also, it is much more likely residents will attend an event after rather than during the holiday season.
To make it extra special, the onsite team can even craft a signature drink that’s named after your property and turn it into a tradition where it is served annually. For the cherry on top, order some low-cost drinking glasses with the community or company logo printed on it.
Promote Your Resident Events to Up Your Social Media Engagement
A great way to get residents involved and spread some holiday cheer is by hosting holiday-themed events. If the community has a clubhouse or other common area, you could host an ugly sweater party, cookie decorating contest or hot cocoa bar. No matter what the decision, ensures ample advance promotion so everyone has a chance to participate.
While it might feel a little unnatural or even overly “promotional,” try to view every resident event as a marketing opportunity — take photos and videos, create stories, make TikToks, and share, share, share!
Ashley Tyndall is Director of Business Development for Criterion.B.