Property management professionals may be in for a tumultuous year in 2023. Falling rental rates and lower volume of leasing traffic have many operators spooked that occupancies may also drop in the New Year. RealPage Analytics’ SVP and Chief Economist Jay Parsons stated in December, “We’re on track to end 2022 with the weakest net apartment demand since 2009. Low consumer confidence and weak household formation tells us Americans are in “wait and see” mode.”
This forecast is a compelling reason for apartment community professionals to double-down on enhancing the customer experience, or CX, for their existing residents. Earning the loyalty of existing residents is always good business. It is even more important when demand for new leases is low.
Why Conduct Resident Appreciation Week?
Your residents demand and deserve outstanding service all year through, of course, which is why some apartment professionals think resident appreciation activities are unnecessary. We disagree. Designating a dedicated Resident Appreciation Week allows you to surprise and delight your customers with acts of recognition and kindness that go even further than your everyday service levels and exceed their expectations. Doing so can also strengthen the relationships that your on-site community team members have with your customers, as it offers ample opportunities for positive engagement. And it may lead to improved loyalty in the form of resident retention.
How to Create Legendary Events and Activities
Thoughtful planning is the key to delivering an extraordinary Resident Appreciation Week for your customers. Consider the wise words of Walt Disney, who said: “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come ack and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”
Here are five suggestions for planning and conducting a Resident Appreciation Week that will so impress your residents that they tell their friends about it (and share details in their own social posts.)
1. Consider the calendar. There’s no designated date for Resident Appreciation Week, which means you can choose the time frame that works best for you. Take into account when your team is most available for the extra effort that will be required. Avoid heavy move-in or move-out times, for example. Find a time of year that is not overburdened with commitments for your crew and start planning.
2. Know your audience. When planning the activities or gifts you’ll share during Resident Appreciation Week, pay close attention to the residents you are serving. What worked well at your last community may be a total miss at your current community thanks to differing demographics and preferences. Look to past resident events to find clues to what has been successful with your residents. If you have special needs among resident your population, that that into account.
3. Flex your marketing muscle. Your Resident Appreciation Week will be most successful when you share information generously with your residents. Let customers know well in advance what you have planned. Use all of your communication channels to do so, including your resident app, your social feeds, and signage throughout your community (we love the fun and stylish A-frame sign designs available from Sprout Marketing.) Continue to share information every day throughout your activity-filled week so they know what’s next. Bonus: prospective residents who are watching your feeds will see that your community is attentive to resident service.
4. Get personal. Involve every member of your community team in both your Resident Appreciation Week planning and execution. Your service team may have excellent ideas to share, for example, since they could have the most interaction with residents once they move in. Special events provide an opportunity for all associates to interact face-to-face with your residents. This can allow your customers to build their relationships with members of your team and strengthen their loyalty to your apartment community.
5. Mix it up. One of the benefits of conducting acts of service and recognition for your residents for a full week is the opportunity to vary your offerings. Let’s face it; some activities or gifts will be received well by some residents but miss the mark for others. By mixing up your offerings, you increase the likelihood of delighting all residents over time. Plan your Resident Appreciation Week to offer a wide range of events and/or gifts, such as in-person events, virtual events, gifts delivered to residents’ doors, resident contests, pet-focused activities, or drive-through goodie delivery at the community entrances and exits. You’ll find loads of creative examples and photos of real, successful resident event ideas on the Livly blog.
New Year, Same Resident Focus
With some consideration and planning, your Resident Appreciation Week efforts can boost resident engagement, strengthen customer satisfaction, and earn the loyalty of your residents—leading to resident retention and healthy occupancy for the New Year. Cheers to your successful events!
· Apartment Rents Fall Again in November as Leasing Traffic Remains Soft, RealPage Analytics, https://www.realpage.com/analytics/apartment-rents-fall-again-in-november-as-leasing-traffic-remains-soft/
· Sprout Marketing, www.watchyourbusinesssprout.com
· Livly, https://www.blog.livly.io/