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Resident Retention and Activities

Many communities struggle with new ideas for resident activities as a method for increasing resident retention.  While resident retention should be approached from many different angles (the least of which is excellent service), we also need to be reminded renewals are not an event but a process.  Constantly keeping your resident energized and excited about where they live can be a challenge, unless you let your imagination run with the wind.

Today we live in the "knowledge" age, where information can be obtained at the click of a mouse and people based on studies are constantly seeking new information.  Previously we would have a cookout, holiday event, pizza party, or other event only to have the same residents show up every time for the events.  We must remember we deal with a very diverse resident profile today, even when you may have a  specific target profile.  We also should tap into that knowledge and information resource when we consider our resident functions and activities.

Look at your resident profile and review some of the diverse opportunities and potential interests.  Look at what are leading topics in the news or today's world that have a personal or emotional impact.  Look at where you might be able to make ties with local businesses and even employers, benefiting not only your residents but your occupancy.  Look at the trees to see how vital the forest can be!  Some ideas that have proven to be extremely successful include information sessions and not just fun activities.  Here are some examples:

1.  Travel with certain profiles is something that interests our residents.  Cruise lines and travel agencies love to give information sessions related to travel.  As an example in Houston, TX there is a local company called Vacations to Go.  In Philadelphia is The Cruise Agency.  In Orlando, Florida is Cruise Planners, and the list goes on.

2.  Lowes and Home Depot or your local garden center will fall over themselves to do a workshop at your property for free on "plants for your apartment or balcony."  Not only is this a great workshop for your residents while working with a large employer in your market, you probably will get some great looking patios and balconies out of the workshop.

3.  Financial planning is something everyone today is looking at, especially in light of the potential Social Security is not going to be there for everyone in the future or at least not in the present form. 

4.  Cooking and healthy cooking in particular are extremely popular, and add to that seminars or presentations on cooking specifically for busy lifestyles and people on the go touch on a lifestyle trend.  Throw into the mix gourmet and specialty cooking, and you have several categories and events to choose from.  Even places like Bed, Bath and Beyond will sponsor events like this.

5.  Wine and cheese and the effects of wine and food are popular to many residents.  How many times have you seen in an apartment a wine rack or wine refrigerator?  Not all wines go with all foods, and having an expert on "cause and effect of food and wine" is a great workshop.  Places like Total Wine and ABC Wine and Spirits are great resources for information sessions.

6.  Self defense with crime issues in most communities can be a big draw for both adults and children.  If you have an indoor fitness area or sports court where it is big enough for lessons, I have witnessed local dojo's enthusiastic about holding classes at a community.

Now for the clincher.  None of these cost you money and there are many more areas we have not even touched on.  Mobile pet grooming and even vet services at properties, genealogy (look at the show Who Do You Think You Are and Ancestory.com increases in popularity), on site massage night, swimming lessons for that pool that is not used very often, etc.  Each presenter brings food and beverage, and has "give-aways" to entice resident participation. 

Use your imagination, throw everything on the wall and see what sticks.  The impact on the bottom line can be significant, and the happiness of your residents and the sense of community can be rewarding. 

Don't forget to visit my other blogs at www.multifamilysuccess.blogspot.com

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great ideas!

I may have to steal some of these for my own property...

  Nathan Borne, CPM®, MBA
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I love the idea about Lowe's giving plants for decks and apartments workshop. I've already gone ahead and contacted them to see how we set such a workshop up. This will be a BIG hit in our community. Your other ideas are excellent as well. Thanks for helping me get started.

  Kerri
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks Nathan and Kerri. Let the creative juices flow!

  Lawrence Berry, CPM
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This is spot on Lawrence. I couldn't agree more especially the part about retention being a process and not an event. It is critical that the renewing process starts the second the resident signs the original lease.

  Talisa Lavarry

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