This article will go through how to build a comprehensive resident engagement strategy that doesn’t rely solely on events. And how adding a Resident Engagement App boosts event attendance and resident-to-resident interactions.
Property managers spend an average of $889 per resident event. They invest in events because events mean interactions between residents. Interactions between residents mean more relationships and a stronger sense of community. More relationships and a stronger sense of community mean higher resident retention. Higher resident retention means higher NOI. Thus profits.
Resident events provide an average of 60 resident-to-resident interactions per month to an apartment community.
Are 60 resident-to-resident interactions per month enough to create a sense of community? We’re going to say no. You need a ton more than that to actually move the engagement needle.
The question is, how do you produce more interactions and engagement? How do you make sure your resident engagement strategy is building a connected community? We’ll touch on a few things you can try out throughout this article.
From Events, To Experiences
Today, innovative and forward-thinking community managers have realized that providing residents with a resident engagement app leads to a stronger sense of community. And more frequent interactions between residents—all for substantially cheaper than the cost of a resident event.
In the old days of property management, resident engagement meant resident events.
Actually, it meant more like a pizza party where you ordered a few pizzas, sent an email out to the whole building, and then watched as ravenous residents came down to the club room. They’d grab a few slices, say a few pleasantries to the same three people they talk to each time, and then return to their apartments.
Then a few years ago, resident engagement slowly evolved to be more experiential.
Instead of a Pizza Party, apartments organize a Pizza Making Class with a real chef.
Same with a Happy Hour where instead, residents enjoy a hands-on Cocktail Making Class led by a certified mixologist.
Rather than going with the common Breakfast Grab & Go, residents can start their weekend with a Rooftop Yoga, DJ, Brunch, and Mimosas Experience. Cue the Instagram Posts.
From 60 To 500+ Interactions
While resident experiences are a huge step up from events, both still suffer from the same fundamental flaw. The number of resident-to-resident interactions during events or experiences is relatively small.
Most residents still just interact with the same 2 or 3 people they have a little familiarity with.
Think of the last networking event you attended – how many new people did you have any meaningful conversations with? 1? 2? 3?
2 to 3 resident-to-resident interactions per resident event is not a lot and is quite expensive.
Just how expensive? Let’s do some math. Flamingo’s data shows that the average event or experience costs $889, not including the time spent by the management team planning and organizing the event.
Let’s assume a generous average event attendance of 20. And a generous estimate of 3 interactions per resident.
Multiplying 20 x 3, we get an average of 60 interactions between residents per event. Which means it costs about $15 per interaction. Woof. That is expensive.
But what we’ve seen happen when you add a Resident Engagement App to your resident engagement strategy is that that number increases to 538 resident-to-resident interactions per month.
For a 100 building portfolio, this translates to spending $88,900 for 6,000 resident-to-resident interactions from events. Versus spending the same amount but gaining 53,800 resident-to-resident interactions each month by adding a resident engagement app.
How Does a Resident Engagement App Produce That Many More Interactions?
I’ll get to that in a second, but first, a short story.
I attended my first NAA Apartmentalize event not too long ago. I’m not shy, but I’m also not an extreme extrovert, so large conferences like these can be a challenge. But behold, I was having conversations with person after person after person.
And these were deep, friendly, I’ve-known-you-all-my-life type conversations. Except, I’d never met any of these people before… Ever.
I had chatted with them many times before, though, and knew a lot about them already, even if I’d never met them in person.
How, you might ask? Well, LinkedIn, of course! Through the power of social media. I had read many posts written by these people. I had exchanged private messages with them or had them comment on my posts.
So seeing them in person for the first time led to an instant and much deeper conversation than if I had just met them for the first time.
A resident engagement app does exactly the same thing for your resident interactions and resident events.
A Resident Engagement App Complements And Boosts The Impact Of All Other Resident Interactions
Similar to how LinkedIn enhanced my NAA Apartmentalize experience, a resident engagement app complements and boosts the impact of your resident events. As well as all other interactions or run-ins your residents have with each other. In the elevator, in the fitness center, or at your resident lounge.
I was more excited to attend Apartmentalize because I knew I would meet some of my LinkedIn connections there. Even better, I knew talking to them wouldn’t be awkward because we had already exchanged messages, comments, or likes on LinkedIn many times before.
I even had people I didn’t know stop me out of the blue to say hi at the conference because they had seen some of my content.
In the same vein, your residents are way more excited AND likely to attend a resident event if they can see that a bunch of their neighbors are attending that event. Especially neighbors with whom they have exchanged likes, comments, or messages via their Resident Engagement App.
Just how much does a Resident Engagement App boost resident event attendance?
Flamingo’s resident event attendance analytics show that communities with a resident engagement app have 216% higher resident event attendance than apartments without a Resident Engagement App.
And it’s not just resident events that get a boost from a Resident Engagement App. All other resident run-ins get a boost as well.
A resident running into one of their neighbors in the elevator, in the fitness center, or at the resident lounge is more likely to start a conversation if it’s someone they have seen or interacted with via a comment, like, message, or have seen one of their posts in the app. Your resident engagement strategy has to keep resident-to-resident communication at its core.
Resident Events Offer a Finite Number of Resident-to-resident Interaction and Engagement Opportunities. A Resident Engagement App Offers an Infinite Number of Opportunities For Residents To Connect, Get Familiar With Each Other, Etc.
It’s simple math.
Resident event budgets range from $800 to $1500 per month. This translates to 1 to 2 events per month – assuming the site team doesn’t get too busy and forgets to organize an event that month.
Our analytics show that residents in communities with Flamingo’s Resident Engagement App send an average of 115 private messages per month to each other. And interact with or comment on public posts in the app an average of 363 times per month.
Your residents interact with each other only 60 times per month with just resident events.
With a resident engagement app, your residents interact with each other 478 times per month.
In comparison. With just resident events, your residents can only connect with each other the 1 or 2 times you have resident events.
With a Resident Engagement App, they can connect 24/7 and for multiple reasons. Which is why it should be considered as part of your resident engagement strategy.
A Resident Engagement App Allows Residents To Connect In More Meaningful Ways
The level of conversational intimacy you can have with someone at a social function with 18 other people within earshot is somewhat limited.
While your residents don’t need to spill their deepest secrets to become friends, they are most certainly not going to go beyond surface-level conversations at your resident events.
A Resident Engagement App allows them to have more private text exchanges to continue building on their budding friendships and easily organize additional intimate get-togethers.
How often have you met someone great at a networking event, and you both say the classic “let’s stay in touch or get a coffee.” And then immediately forget about this exchange until the next time you see the other person at another networking event?
The same thing happens to your residents. But a Resident Engagement App keeps all their neighbors top of mind because each time they see a post from that neighbor, they remember, “Oh Yea! I was supposed to get coffee with them.”
This leads to more frequent in-person one-on-ones and thus more meaningful friendships forming.
A Resident Engagement App Leads To More Diverse Interactions Between Residents
Property managers organize resident events to allow residents to interact with each other. Interacting with their neighbors leads to friendships and a stronger sense of community.
The issue is that your interactions with someone at a short event with multiple other people are minimal.
Imagine your relationships with friends and family if you ever only got to interact with them at events with multiple other people. No texting, phone calls, or video chats in-between. It’s almost certain that all your relationships would immediately fall apart.
So how can property managers expect their residents to build meaningful relationships with only resident events?
Authentic relationships form when you 1) interact with someone frequently and 2) those interactions range from the exciting to the mundane to the intimate.
Most interactions during a resident event will be fun, surface-level conversations. “Ohhhh, you like Korean dramas too??”
Contrast this with the examples below of real interactions we see between residents on Flamingo’s resident engagement app:
Interactions like these range from the mundane to attempts at humor to real requests for help.
A Resident Engagement App Helps You Build Community
Every time a resident posts a picture, asks for local recommendations, if someone can pet sit, or if someone wants to join them for a card game, those are all points of community building. And constitute a big part of a well-rounded resident engagement strategy.
These are the things that lead residents to feel their apartment is home and that the strangers across the hall are their neighbors and friends, not just people they share an address with.
Who is going to feel a stronger connection to their community?
The resident that attended a resident Happy Hour event and chatted with three neighbors about their love of anime?
Or the resident who posts in their Resident Engagement App begging for someone to let their dog out for a walk because they’re stuck at work, and to their delight, five neighbors immediately volunteer to help let the dog out?
Engagement via a resident engagement app is just as real and more impactful than engagement via resident events. The success of social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have proven that.
A Resident Engagement App Leads To More Resident Events, Without The Added Costs
Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
The quote above applies to many things in life, including resident engagement.
Your team can dedicate so much budget or time to resident engagement, including resident events. But provide a tool like a Resident Engagement App to residents and watch them drive their own engagement and events.
We’ve seen residents use their Flamingo Resident Engagement App 1000s of times to drive their own engagement and organize their own resident events – without any work, intervention, or cost to the property management team.
From weekly running groups to wine appreciation groups to neighborhood bar crawls from board game tournaments to an impressive group of residents that would get together every week to watch the latest episode of Netflix’s Insecure. This last group of residents even organized a whole party to celebrate the series finale of the Netflix show.
Residents are not only organizing their own events and special interest groups. They’re also organizing off-site events to take advantage of all the fun things around their neighborhood.
Using Resident Events As Your Sole Means To Drive Engagement And Community Building Is a Losing And Expensive Strategy
A 100 building portfolio company with a monthly resident event budget of $889 spends $1,066,800 annually for 72,000 interactions between residents.
That same 100 building portfolio gains 10,890,000 resident interactions per year with a Resident Engagement App. All this without any additional expense.
A Resident Engagement App is the missing link in your resident engagement toolkit.