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Activities and Events Can Provide Leasing Support


Who gets invited to management-sponsored special events and routine activities?

  • The residents
  • Adult guests of residents
  • Business and industry contacts: human resource people, corporate VIPs, department heads, relocation agents
  • Prospects and their guests
  • Community-relations people: local government, neighborhood press, officials in community services such as fire, police, schools, etc.

 

Invitations should be tasteful and well thought-out, but they need not always be in writing or printed.  A handwritten note on letterhead is a nice touch, but telephone calls can also be an effective way for leasing agents to encourage prospects to meet residents and other prospects or to sample the community in advance of making a decision.  The leasing agent needs to arrange to meet the prospect at the door at a given time, with the intention of introducing that person around to select residents, other prospects, etc.  Leasing professionals should be relied upon to host functions and cause guests to feel welcomed and comfortable.  Leasing agents and management staff should greet residents warmly, treat their guests like royalty, and perform introduce them to other residents and guests.
Invitations and follow-up contacts with business and industry should be a bit more businesslike, but still warm and caring.  The invitation by mail, hand-delivery, or phone should be appealing enough to be memorable.  The department head or the personnel director of a targeted area employer might not be personally interested in attending your function—but a secretary or clerk in that department might, and that may be all it takes to get a referral.  If no one shows, and you continue to mail invites and then call for RSVP, you still will be making an impression upon someone if you do so often enough to be recognized and remembered.  Make it a good and elevating experience for the person who opens the mail or answers the telephone call.  Then, your name and that of your community will pop into his or her mind when an employee or candidate solicits apartment information.  You just don’t know where things will lead.

 

You may also just happen to have one of those treasured secretaries, clerks, or department heads living in your community, and never have realized what benefits they can provide.  Look over your resident list and see who would be in a position of influence to possibly refer someone or to feed you leads about who will be transferring into town and when.

Who Coordinates Activities and Events? How to Fund Them?

Of course, the manager is responsible for all community affairs, but the likely candidate to coordinate the advance promotion and execute the event would be your leasing team.
Promoting these activities and events interfaces well with an outreach program conducted by leasing professionals.  You never can tell who might enjoy an aerobics class, Monday night football potluck supper, or crafts show.  The power of suggestion is mighty surprising.
There are some overused budgets from which you might borrow funding: newspaper, resident referral payments, and rental concessions.  Many and varied events can, and should, be paid for by the attendees.  You don’t have to offer activities for free; all you must do to warrant paid attendance is to plan and manage the activity well enough that it’s worth more to the prospective attendees than what you’re charging.  People really want to feel excited about their free time, and hopeful that it will meet some of their needs.  Maybe all you’re doing is providing a place to hold certain classes for a three-week or six-week period: Self defense, Oriental cooking, crafts, astrology, better English grammar for business, how to prepare taxes, clogging, flower arranging, or whatever is offered elsewhere.  It could be exposing your community in a positive way, with a minimum effort on your part.

 

12-Month Calendar Example and Ideas

Get a 12-month calendar that has blank spaces for every day of the month and the entire month on one page.  Page-at-a-glance viewing is helpful to the planning process in order to make sure the schedule, expenses, and activity variation have balance and meet your target market objectives.
Obtain a list of all the important dates for the calendar year in which you are working.  Make sure you have some veneration days for all walks of life and all religious persuasions that could relate to your anticipated profile.
Obtain a list of “crazy” holidays and celebrations around the world.  These are available in the public library.  Partial lists are exhibited here as an example.  The lists may be holidays, or even a birthday list of notables, living or dead.  It’s fun to brainstorm when you have information before you.  For example, communities with many small children might promote a Saturday afternoon celebration of Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday on April 2.  Pay a drama student to do readings and animate the children’s literature.  You might get some good mileage out of this type of program promotionally, even if very few children actually attend.  Take close-up photos in place of group shots when the group is small.  Or celebrate Orville Wright’s birthday on August 19, with an outdoor cookout and kite-flying contest (adults or children).  Or pay a fee to the local jump school and have them do a flyover and jump at your property, if you have enough grassy area to land.  Or have a model plane contest, or arrange helicopter rides through your local airport. If you have an upper-end community, how about a Beethoven Tree-Trimming Party on December 16, Beethoven’s birthday, to put a new twist on Christmas celebrations.
In the calendar examples provided, there is generally a routine event each month, which runs with seasons and moods, and a special event each month.  These routine and special events deliberately change profiles for reasons already explained.

 

Synopsis
Use the power of your imagination to create a groundswell of excitement.  Put a twist of creativity into every event to make it outstanding enough for everyone involved to talk it up—both before and after the event.  It isn’t easy to be memorable in this time of heightened competition.  Your creativity can make the difference.  But make a difference in measured doses.  Too ambitious a program will wear you down and diminish your effectiveness level.  For the first year, try just two or three ideas and work out the kinks, get accustomed to the pace of promotion.  It’s very different than direct advertising.  But whatever you do, look carefully at each event and see how you can get more mileage out of it than you thought possible previously.  There is no better resident-retention opportunity than causing residents to have fun and derive real enjoyment from where they live.  If the community is an integral part of their social structure, they won’t want to let go very easily.
Home can be more than a nice place to live—it can be a lifestyle!

 

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