Stimulus Package for your Complex

By and large it has been a bad year for all of us. High tides raise all ships and low tides bring them all down. We’re all riding the crest downward, including your residents. I probably don’t have to remind you of that.

In this month’s issue of Multi-Housing News, Christy Freeland, CEO of Riverstone Residential said, “We know that people like to be social, so we’re offering things like movie and game nights, or bringing in guest speakers on topics like physical fitness. We’re not having to spend a lot of money on those things, but it’s the idea of providing a sense of community that will keep residents around longer.” (MHN, June 2009, pg. 13)

I could not agree more with Freeland. Your residents are your customers, so it is wise that you treat them well. To me, this means going above and beyond giving them a clean and safe place to live. Goodwill goes a tremendously long way.

Recently a client of ours decided that he wanted to host a grand re-opening at his property to market his 43 vacancies. He decided that he wanted a local radio station to attend for two and a half hours and that he would have a raffle drawing. The raffle was for a flat screen TV to be given away as the radio station wrapped up their time on the property.

When asked for our input, we modified his original plan and enhanced the benefits at the margin.
The radio station was given four different pitches to announce how this complex is green, new, convenient, healthy to live in, and safe (the complex is “National Green Apartment Certified” platinum level.)

 The DJ would cycle through those four pitches in succession every time he spoke while announcing that there was an iPod giveaway every half hour. The DJ also mentioned the free burgers and hot dogs that were being served and how easy it was to see the new green property while you ate your free food. 

For the current residents of the property, the management firm announced a week and a half in advance that the ownership was throwing them a party. There would be free catered bar-be-que, as well as an iPod raffle.

For the drive by traffic who weren’t listing to the exact radio station that was broadcasting from the property, we decided to have BBQ smoke chips in a separate grill billowing white smoke up in the air a hundred feet high. We also chose to have very large balloons made up and strung together raising high into the sky. Think of the balloons that you are accustomed to seeing at car dealerships.   

The results of the promotion were nothing less than amazing. The week of the event resulted in 28 new leases! 10 of the leases came as a referral from current residents. The current residents were encouraged to bring their friends and family. Not only did the owner surpass his goal of 20 new leases, he was also able to build a stronger community at his complex. This strength binds the residents together more closely and will “…keep residents around longer,” something Freeland points out as being very important.

(Scott Yahraus is the president of Apartment Energy Consultants. Apartment Energy Consultants is the governing body that certifies multifamily properties as being “National Green Apartment Certified.” Visit them at http://www.GreenRetrofitter.com, or contact Yahraus directly at Scott@GreenRetrofitter.com or 818-854-6850)