I recently heard a story from a friend who is also in the property management business about an apartment community that was promoting an early renewal contest. The community sent out flyers telling residents that if they signed renewal papers early, they would be entered into a raffle. So a resident excitedly entered the leasing office early with his paperwork and, as my friend stated, “that’s 12 more months of rent right there” and their office associate begrudgingly took the paperwork, almost as if not interested in dealing with this obviously-satisfied-enough-to-renew-for-another-12-months resident, that there was not even a smile on his face and didn’t even mention the contest until the resident asked about his raffle ticket.
I understand that sometimes we as property management communities forget that our every day job is the same place that our residents want to look forward to coming home to after a hard day of school or work. I can even think back to times when I was really tired and busy and would lose sight of the fact that where I work is where people live, their home, the place they chose to live (and renew) among the hundreds of others, but even then I can’t remember being annoyed and ungrateful when they brought their renewal paperwork back or got excited about a contest or event (especially because sometimes it took a lot of work on my part to get that renewal paperwork back!). The fact that they got excited about contests and events was often the motivation I would need to get back on the spirit train.
I visit on-site teams now to help them think of new ways to involve residents in the community, and more and more I hear them tell me that their residents don’t want to be involved or aren’t interested in the community experience. And I honestly started to believe it. Then I hear a story like this, and it makes me think: If when they are excited and motivated enough to participate, they are then let down by feeling like they are being bothersome, it’s no wonder they “don’t want to participate”. Just as we would not want to go home to someone who’s miserable to have us there, neither do our residents and it just might mean they go elsewhere where they are appreciated.
While I will not naively believe that every resident will get excited about or become involved in every community activity that is presented to them, that story helped me to regain that spirit and confidence in the importance of resident appreciation and community activities and I hope to motivate our teams to get back that spirit instead of giving up.
I would love some advice and even some great stories that I can share to help others regain their spirit and motivate them to continue to think outside the box and create a living experience that is truly memorable for their residents.