37+ Engaging Resident Event Ideas in 2021
December 21, 2020
Looking for new ways to keep your residents excited about their community? Hosting exciting events for your residents is a great way to help them feel appreciated and come to see themselves not only as tenants, but members of a community.
Resident events are important for property managers, as they bring tenants and building staff closer – and provide a sense of added value to their community in the form of a management company that cares about their overall well-being. These events go a long way to improve resident satisfaction, which at the end of the day translates into higher rates of resident retention.
Types of Resident Events
Community events are a tried and true resident retention tool. And while it could be easiest to go straight for the classic pool party or bingo night, coming up with fresh new ideas for your events will help you leave a positive, lasting effect on your residents.
If we know one thing for sure, it’s that everybody appreciates some good food. Hosting food-centered events like mini food truck festivals, fun cooking classes, or simple cookouts is a great way to help your residents get to know one another and feel more at home in your multi-family building.
Planning resident events around holidays can help keep your community entertained all year round. From Halloween costume parties to cookie walks for winter holidays, you can help residents feel at home by making their holidays brighter, even if they’re spent far from loved ones.
Sports-related events provide multi-family managers with an almost unending supply of opportunities. From tailgates to watch parties to bracket competitions, hosting resident events for sports lovers can please residents of any age.
Community Training Events
No matter what demographics are represented in your multi-family community, chances are your residents can benefit from training events, whether they’re for practical skills or catered to special interests. You can connect with local businesses or nonprofits to offer seminars and classes on things like financial literacy, health and wellness, or even overviews of interesting crafts or trade skills.
Younger residents are community members too! It can be helpful to offer kid-specific community events or even to incorporate kid-friendly activities as part of larger resident appreciation events. Try out a family movie night, a kids-only talent show, or even rent out a bounce house for your next outdoor event!
One thing we learned in 2020 was that having virtual options ready is an absolute must. When planning your events, think about how they can be made virtual. How about virtual lessons, game nights, or watch parties? These can be fantastic ways to connect residents without ever having to leave their apartments.
Benefits of Hosting Community Events for Residents
1. Build Better Relationships with Residents
Providing your community members with positive experiences helps them connect not only one another but to your management team as well. When residents feel connected to management, they may be more comfortable reaching out to report issues or ask questions before they become larger problems.
2. Improve Resident Satisfaction
Now more than ever, residents value community. This makes hosting community events essential to helping your tenants think of their apartment as home. Catering the types of events at your multifamily property to the interests and needs of your resident population is a surefire way to build a true sense to build resident satisfaction.
3. Increase Resident Retention
Residents who enjoy the environment within their apartment homes and the larger multi-family building they live in are often more likely to renew their leases and become star tenants – paying rent on time, respect their surroundings, and interact thoughtfully with their neighbors and management.
4. Opportunity to Showcase Events in Marketing Campaigns
In addition to pleasing current residents, multifamily community events can also be used to showcase your community to prospective residents through social media and traditional marketing! Once you have permission to share photos, snap some shots of your community events to authentically convey how happy new residents will be once they move in.
37 Best Resident Events to Engage Your Community
1. Food Truck Friday
Invite local food trucks to park near your property on a regular, rotating basis. This can help you build strong connections with beloved food truck businesses nearby and keep your residents happy with full tummies.
You can also take this opportunity to have one of your residents set up a small stage for a mini-concert, bring in other food vendors such as ice cream trucks, and more.
2. A Private Chef Dinner Party
Bring a private chef to your multifamily building to provide a curated dining experience to your residents. These types of dining experiences are becoming more popular than ever and can be a great way to make your community members feel special.
Above: Example of 2ndKitchen’s private chef series for multifamily communities.
3. Host a Cooking Class
Chefs can also be brought in to teach cooking classes! If your property doesn’t have a public kitchen area, you can also make this experience a virtual one that residents can participate in from the comfort of their own apartments through tools such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype.
4. BBQ Cookout
Make use of your community’s outdoor space by hosting a classic cookout. You can rent a smoker or grill or you can make it a potluck so residents can showcase their own skills. In addition to food, you can get residents interacting by putting out simple and fun outdoor games like bocce ball or Cornhole.
5. Bake Sale
Do you have some master bakers in your community? Host a bake sale to raise money for a local cause. Be sure to require that any allergens are listed and all treats are handled hygienically.
You can also offer an incentive for residents to participate in the bake sale by offering a free month’s rent, exclusive access to your amenities, a discount on utilities, or a different community-orientated prize.
A cakewalk is a simple and exciting activity that’s perfect for younger residents to participate in. Layout a circle on the ground marked by numbers. Play music while participants walk around the circle. When you stop the music, pick a number out of a jar, and whoever is standing on that number wins a cake!
7. Ice Cream Social
Who doesn’t love ice cream? Set up an ice cream station in your resident lounge or other community space. Make the night extra special by playing fun 50’s music and encouraging residents to dress to match the theme. Don’t forget the toppings bar!
8. Valentine’s Date Night
Who says you need to go out on the town for a romantic Valentine’s Day experience? Host a Valentine’s Date night in your community space complete with plenty of chocolate, flowers, and decorations. Alternatively, you can offer packaged experiences like a curated activity pack or cooking lesson for them to enjoy from their apartments, bring in a romance specialist to host a Q/A event, or offer residents a special Valentine’s Day Dinner for two meal package with 2ndKitchen.
9. Halloween Costume Competition
One of the best things about Halloween is getting to see all the creative costumes people come up with. Host a Halloween event complete with a costume contest, and of course plenty of prizes and sweet candy. Encourage everyone in your community to participate, from kids, parents, pets, and the building staff!
10. Pumpkin Carving Content
Another fun Autumn event to hold is a pumpkin carving contest! Management can supply the pumpkins and the tools, and residents can try their hand at creating a masterpiece or simply carving something they like. Offer prizes for winning categories and display the pumpkins in your community space to make the night extra special. You can add an extra spark to the event by playing classic Halloween favorites (who doesn’t love the Monster Mash) and serving hot apple cider.
11. Fourth of July Fireworks
Give your residents an extra special Fourth of July by celebrating with your very own fireworks show. Set the scene by offering classic holiday snacks like hot dogs and burgers and be sure to spread the word throughout the larger community. For communities with outdoor spaces, it’s a perfect opportunity to use your rooftop, cabanas, or lounges as a centralized hub to host the event.
12. Thanksgiving Dinner
For residents who may not be going home for the holidays, catering a Thanksgiving dinner is a great way to show appreciation. Throw in some fun games and activities for younger residents, and be play some warm, fall-feeling music to get the vibe just right and ensure that everyone has a great time.
With 2ndKitchen, property managers can create an exclusive Thanksgiving dinner feast for their residents. 2ndKitchen partners multifamily communities with highly-rated restaurants nearby that specialize in holiday-themed dinners and fall cocktails. Property managers can celebrate the holiday by saying thanks to their residents by subsidizing the meals, giving everyone in their community a free Thanksgiving dinner.
13. Holiday White Elephant Gift Exchange
This crowd-pleasing game is very fun and simple to plan. Invite residents to come to the party bearing a gift with a set price limit for the game. Add in some simple activities like an ugly sweater contest or a kids’ coloring activity to keep the fun going.
14. Oktoberfest Beer Garden
Adult residents can celebrate Oktoberfest as a community with an Oktoberfest Beer Garden night. You can plan beer tastings, including nonalcoholic beer for non-drinkers, provide warm pretzels, and pump up the German folk songs for an all-around great night.
15. Super Bowl Party
Plan a Super Bowl party that excites all your residents. Set out some classic game-day snacks, put up some sporty decorations, and encourage residents to dress for the occasion. Plan events around the half-time show and commercials as well, to give your residents who are not football fans something to look forward to.
16. Easter Egg Hunt
Easter egg hunts are a hit among kids and adults alike. Set up colorful decorations and hide dyed eggs or candy-filled plastic ones throughout your community spaces for residents to find. Be sure to keep notes on how many eggs were hidden ahead of time!
17. Opening Day Cookout
Celebrate the start of the baseball season with a classic cookout. You can rent a grill or even schedule a food truck appearance for the occasion. Encourage residents to wear their favorite baseball swag and watch live games in your resident lounge after their meals. You can go the extra mile and bring in fun, Baseball-related events and games such as dunk tanks, speed traps for baseball-throwing competitions, a wiffleball tournament, or a hotdog eating competition.
18. College Football Tailgate
Especially effective in college towns and big cities, making space in your property’s outdoor areas for a traditional college football tailgate can really bring residents together. Provide plenty of snacks and set out fun games like Cornhole for residents to play while they listen to the game.
19. March Madness Bracket Challenge
Invite residents to participate in a group NCAA bracket challenge and offer a sweet prize to the winner. This also provides plenty of opportunities for live watch parties throughout the tournament. You can also turn March Madness into a spirit month at your building, encouraging residents to sport their alumi’s merch and colors for the entire month of March.
20. Poker Tournament
Bring residents together by hosting a classic poker tournament. You can encourage residents to participate by donating a portion of the winnings to a charity, providing drinks and food, and live streaming the event. Property managers can also order custom poker chips with your building’s logo and branding to bring an added level of excitement to the event.
21. Karaoke Night
Nothing says fun like karaoke night! Invite residents to the lounge for a night of light-hearted singing. You’ll need to locate a karaoke machine and sound equipment, as well as designate your most gregarious building team member to MC the night. Don’t forget the drinks, as your more shy residents may need some encouragement to preform their go-to karaoke song.
22. Tax Preparation Day
Tax time can be stressful for all of us. Help your residents feel more at ease by scheduling informational sessions on tax preparation. You can reach out to a local CPA or financial literacy organization to find the right instructor for your community. Even better, use this as an opportunity to introduce your building staff members responsible for your accounting tasks to meet residents and discuss their special knowledge of accounting.
23. Dance Lessons
Get your residents up and moving with some dance lessons! All you need is space and an instructor to get your residents moving. You can keep things classic with a Tango or Waltz, or mix things up and try out a more modern routine.
24. CPR Training
CPR is an incredibly useful skill that many residents might want to master – some may even need the training for their work. Always bring in licensed professionals to teach the course. This event is a must for communities with an on-site pool, and is a perfect additional to your pool’s opening day.
25. Fitness Classes
Fitness classes can be a huge draw for residents because gym memberships and boutique classes can be intimidating and expensive. Help your residents feel at home by inviting an instructor into your community to teach lessons in popular activities like Barre or Yoga.
26. Fun Run
Promote healthy activity and community focus by planning a Fun Run. You can set up a run club ahead of time, culminating with a more formal race like a 5K. You can even use this as an opportunity to raise money for a cause that affects the larger community around your multifamily property.
27. Casino Night
Treat your residents to a night of fun games and prizes by hosting a casino night. Have them play classic casino games like Poker or Blackjack with faux cash that they can exchange for prizes when the night is over.
28. Bounce Castle
The sight of a bounce castle can only mean one thing: fun. Treat the kids in your community to an outdoor party with the coolest bounce castle you can find and be sure to offer plenty of snacks and other games to keep everybody while they wait their turn to get in on the fun.
29. Kids Carnival
Show the kids in your community that you care by hosting an annual carnival with all the bells and whistles. Rent a bounce house, hire a face painter, cook up some burgers, and set out plenty of games for optimal fun. You can go the extra mile and theme your carnival, with fun ideas including Medieval, outer space, or beach-themed.
30. Pet Adoption Event
If your building is pet friendly, invite a local pet adoption center to hold a pet adoption event in your community space! This can be a great opportunity to boost moods during stressful times such as college finals, tax day, elections, and more. It’s a win-win for all involved, bringing residents together while also finding homes for animals in need of a forever home.
31. Scavenger Hunt
A fun event that brings residents together without actually requiring them to gather is a scavenger hunt. Hide items throughout your community and come up with a list of fun riddles to help your residents find them. This provides community managers with a fun way of encouraging residents to explore their community and find all the useful apartment amenities throughout the building.
Have your residents take photos when they find an item and encourage them to share on social media with your building’s social handle tagged to get some free promotion for your community. Don’t forget to have prizes for those who win!
32. Movie Night
Whether in-person or virtual, movie nights are a great way to bring your community together. If the weather is nice, you can even rent a projector and screen to make it an outdoor event. You can also encourage residents to dress up, either with the theme of the movie or for a red-carpet event. Don’t forget the popcorn!
33. Trivia Night
Regular trivia nights are a hit whether in-person or virtual. Make your community’s trivia night special by selecting rotating themes and offering exciting prizes. You can even throw a trivia night on fun facts of your neighborhood and building history.
34. Virtual Classes
There’s never a bad time to learn something new. Incorporate polls into your social media stories or resident newsletters to find out what types of things your residents would like to learn!
35. Video Game Tournament
Use your building’s community space to host a video game tournament for residents. It can be extra fun to do this regularly and rotate the game selections so residents of all ages can get in on the action.
36. Virtual Open Mic Night
Everyone’s got a talent to share. Treat your residents to a night of fun and togetherness by hosting a virtual open mic night. This can be a fantastic way to help your residents express themselves and share the things they’re most passionate about.
37. Online Book Club
Do you have some avid readers in your community? Start a monthly resident book club! With as much or as little management involvement as makes sense, book clubs can be a great way to get residents to meet and connect on a deeper level.
Madelaine is a regular contributor to the 2ndKitchen blog. She is also a Compliance Monitor at The Habitat Company and Chief of Staff at Obvi, a non-profit organization focused on promoting gender equality through storytelling and self-expression.
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