When you can build a reassuring community that is consistent, you save time and money that would be spent on additional marketing and turnover. A successful resident retention plan has to meet a few basic needs for your residents, but once you’ve mastered these – it’s time to branch out and try something new.
As a refresher, here are the “standard” basic needs most properties are consistently providing to their residents on a consistent basis.
- Express genuine gratitude to and for your residents.
- Ensure the property is safe and well-maintained.
- Create a sense of ownership for your residents.
- Become a part of your residents’ routine – get to know your residents one-on-one
- Bring back that new apartment feel on a consistent basis.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
Once you’ve mastered the basic needs of your residents, you can take the next step forward to developing and creating new and interesting ways to keep your residents engaged and a part of your community.
There are few things you should consider as you start to develop a new retention plan.
- Know your audience – research and really understand your resident demographic
- Pick up on trends – pay close attention to what’s happening in your neighborhood (e.g. new restaurants, new shops, new services)
- Keep it simple – you don’t have to go overboard to make a big impact
Take the information you’ve learned from the research above and use it to create creative, big ideas that will work for you.
OUT OF THE BOX IDEAS FOR RESIDENT RETENTION
SPRING FUN FLOWER FRIDAYS
“Now, science shows that not only do flowers make us happier than we know, they have strong effects on our emotional wellbeing. Flowers and plants bring about positive emotional feelings in those who enter a room. They make the space more welcoming and create a sharing atmosphere.” Dr. Haviland-Jones, Dept. of Psychology, Rutgers University in “An Environmental Approach to Positive Emotion: Flowers”
A fresh bouquet of flowers to brighten up your home is always a wonderful way to start the weekend. Fresh flowers can finish out interior design and make a home feel warm and welcoming. But, it is often an extra cost that residents aren’t willing to spend on themselves. Develop a spring event and set up a Bring Your Own Vase (BYOV) fresh flower station each Friday in your common or leasing area for residents to stop by to “make and take” a bouquet for their residences. The flowers will remind your residents of your interest in making sure their community is open and welcoming.
A CHANCE TO GROW
Per Psychology Today, “Time and time again, research reveals that gardening has a positive effect on our mental health.”
Creating a green space for your residents to grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers would help them create a sense of purpose and responsibility for the property. By using the common space available on your property and investing in a few raised beds, your residents will be able to grow vegetation of their choice and gain access to fresh, seasonal herbs and vegetables.5 If raised beds are not a possibility at your property, rooftops and parking lots can make great spaces for raised beds as well.
Gardening adds so many positive attributes for a community.
- Looking after plants creates a sense of responsibility and permanency
- Gardening allows us residents to be nurturers
- Gardening helps us relax, let go and keeps us connected to other living things
- Working in nature helps us release happy hormones
- Some aspects of gardening help us to vent anger and aggression; and they can also allow us to feel in control
To help your residents get involved, you can create events that help your residents get started. Events may include seed swaps, community work days, dinners in the garden, and many more.
FLEX YOUR DESIGN MUSCLE
Interior design can be overwhelming. Your residents may know what they like, but may be at a loss on how to best use their new space or how to freshen up the rooms they’ve known for years with the furniture they already own. Offering up to an hour of time with a professional interior designer can open up your residents to a whole new world of how to use their space by creating an efficient, functional and beautiful home.
As the gig economy grows, so does the number of mompreneurs who double as interior designers and moms who seek a career, as well as the flexibility to have time with their kids. The point is, it will most likely be easy for you to find an affordable, efficient mompreneur interior designer who you can trust to implement your “Design Muscle” strategy. You can get started by creating an offer for your residents – new and old – to book an hour of time with an interior designer. The interior designer can do a quick audit and provide a tip list of how to best use the space with the furniture that your resident already owns.
The “Design Muscle” approach is a win-win. Your residents end up feeling more organized and comfortable in their home, and you’ve earned their trust and appreciation for making their space more engaging.
As soon as you’ve researched and identified your audience, you can start building on your big ideas to create unique retention ideas to help differentiate your property from your competitors’. It is important, however, to remember that in order for your community-building ideas to work, a strong foundation based on accurate resident information should be in place and continuously maintained.