Typically when we think about marketing in property management and most other businesses, we consider strategies to create awareness and attract new customers. However, as the proverbial saying goes, a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. In this case that means it’s wise to place some focus on making your existing residents happy, to help boost retention, reputation and word of mouth marketing for your communities.
Did you know? It costs 6-7 times more to obtain a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. (Source: Bain & Company)
And while we’re digging into our bag of proverbs, might we state the universal truth that the way to a human’s heart is through their stomach!? That makes food the perfect target to take aim at when considering how to build a community of happy residents that will stay with you and help spread the word within their own social networks.
The Property Manager′s Guide to Extraordinary Marketing has all the inspiration and resources you need to get the right message heard by the right people.
That being said, here are 9 delicious ways that you can make food a key driver of community in your condominiums or apartment buildings.
1. Welcome Wagon Goodies
When a resident moves in, greet them with a gift basket filled with yummy treats that complement the lifestyle or character of your community. For instance, popcorn and cookies might be a great choice for a family-oriented community, while upscale gourmet treats would make a more favourable impression in a luxury condo. Consider a neighborhood shop as the supplier for these baskets, to encourage cross promotional marketing relationships and to help support local business.
2. Food Truck Nights
As a monthly or perhaps weekly event, book a popular local food truck to come to your property, varying the type of cuisine each time, so that residents will have something new to try and be excited about. Food truck nights are perfect events to promote through your social media channels, to inform your residents about them and to demonstrate to prospects that you have a fun and vibrant community. Be sure to invite residents to post photos of their food experience on their own social media networks, tagging both the supplier and your community. There’s also an opportunity to tie social media sharing into a contest, where the winner and a friend would be treated for the next food truck night.
3. Community Gardens
Communal herb and vegetable gardens are becoming increasingly popular in multifamily communities spanning pretty much every demographic. Offering residents the chance to grow their own food greatly increases satisfaction and attachment to your community amongst those who have an interest in this activity. Community gardens also lend themselves very well to promotion through social media channels, as images can be posted for spring prep, growth progress, harvest time and even delicious dishes prepared with food from the garden. Again, you can use contests to encourage your residents to post images, tagging your community.
4. Cooking Classes
While we are on the subject of food… oh wait, this whole post is about food! Themed cooking classes are a great way to encourage residents to connect with each other and build a stronger sense of community. If your building has a roof top patio with barbeques, tying the cooking class into enjoying a BBQ meal outside in the warmer months would be a lot of fun for residents. Or if your community has a veggie garden, home grown produce could be utilized in the cooking classes. Again, plenty of social media photo ops here!
5. Healthy Snack Share
Invite residents to meet in a common area to bring and share their favorite healthy snack. Healthy snack event dates can be posted on social media, as well as in building common areas that may be frequented by residents who have an interest in health and fitness, such as the gym, bicycle locker, outdoor walking paths, etc. This type of event may bring together residents who have similar interests and lifestyles, thus strengthening their sense of community and belonging.
6. Seasonal Celebration Treats
Hand out treats at the front desk that correspond with the current holiday or season, like pumpkin spiced muffins just before Thanksgiving, candy canes at Christmas, popsicles during a heat wave, and hot chocolate with marshmallows to warms hearts and bellies in the dead of winter.
7. Random Treats
It’s really hard not to smile and have a brighter day when you receive an unexpected treat — no matter how small. Try occasionally surprising your residents with treats left in their mail boxes. My personal fave — individually wrapped Lindor chocolates. ♥
8. Treats for Milo and Otis
This is a must do if your community allows pets. We are fairly confident in saying that honoring your residents’ pets by giving them treats will be even more effective than giving the owner a treat! And be sure to post photos of your residents’ pets enjoying their treats. Because we all know how much the Internet loves our four-legged friends — and you’ll be advertising to potential residents that your property is extremely pet-friendly!
9. Give Food Back
There’s no better way to build a stronger community than to give back to those in the community who are less fortunate. Organize periodic food drives to demonstrate to your residents that you care about everyone — not just the people who pay the bills. At the same time you’ll be providing residents with an easy opportunity to feel good by helping others too.
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