The Secret to a Successful Resident Event
- Oct 31, 2014
By Jessica Fiur, Senior Editor
Jersey City, N.J.—Looking to scare up some interest at your resident events? Follow the lead of Newport, a multifamily community in Jersey City, N.J., which recently held a successful Halloween carnival. MHN talked to Maya Autret, director of marketing, Newport Associates, before they ran the carnival, and talked about their secrets for well-attended resident programs.
MHN: Tell me about the Newport Carnival.
Autret: This is our first year doing this event. What we’ve got planned is we’ve got a bunch of mini-sized pumpkins for kids to decorate. We’re also going to have some entertainers there—a D.J. We’ll be doing a costume parade as well with pets. It’s just a chance for the kids to come out in their costumes—we like to do it before Halloween since on Halloween everybody is busy Trick or Treating.
MHN: Are you having anything for the adult residents as well, or is it mainly for the kids?
Autret: A lot of times, adults will dress up. It’s really more families that will come out for this. For adults they usually go out in the evening; for this we’re doing it in the morning. But I’ve seen some nice family costumes when I’ve done this type of event in the past at other places.
MHN: How did you come up with this?
Autret: Well I had done it in the past at other properties, and it’s just been a huge hit. I’m a parent myself, and I find it super helpful when your landlord actually thinks of having these events for you in your building. You don’t have to go anywhere or plan anything—you just go downstairs in your elevator and hang out with neighbors and get to meet other neighbors. It’s just super convenient. We’ll be doing this as well for the holidays. It’s really important, I think, just to get neighbors to get to know each other because people are way too busy and there’s not enough community building going on these days.
MHN: So you’ve gotten good reactions from similar events?
Autret: Definitely. People really go all out. We’re doing this as well at Gateway in Battery Park, and leasing managers are in touch with a lot of the residents there, and they’ve been telling us that people are getting really excited. People are really looking forward to it.
MHN: Why do you have these events? What other types of events do you have?
Autret: With Newport we do quite a lot, and we do them for different reasons. The reason we do these events, first and foremost, is to please the residents. I’ve actually heard residents say that when their renewal is coming up, they think about the fact that they have these events and they get to enjoy things for free. We also like to do it to promote community retail. We’ll partner with local retailers, or retailers will sponsor things. This allows us to make for better events because you don’t get a lot of budget for these things.
The other reasons we like to do these events is to generate awareness about Newport as a place to live, to visit and even to work. For example, we recently did a Yelp event where we partnered with Yelp. Basically you arrived at Newport and you got a map. There were eight participating restaurants and you got to go to five of them based on what your map and schedule said, and you got to try out free food and beverages. This was an event where we had both residents and non-residents, and it was a really great way to include the community.
Other types of events include the beach party, which takes place in the urban beach in Newport Green. All the restaurants come out and have different menus for the evening. It’s really fun. We had music, and we also had entertainment for the kids—there was a magician/clown there. That was a real hit.
We also do annual movie nights in the summers where we screen family-friendly movies, and those are always popular. This year we also had a kids’ talent show before a screening of Frozen, so we had a bunch of 3 year olds and 4 year olds singing “Let It Go.” It was incredible! And the residents get so excited. The parents are taking pictures and sharing them, so it has a really positive marketing impact as well.
MHN: Do you find more success with the kid-friendly events?
Autret: Well the Yelp event was adults only. But, bottom line, if you’re not going to have alcohol it’s very hard to get people to come out because you’re competing against a lot of amazing stuff out there. And it is harder for families to get out, so making it in the community makes it easy for them. The family events are some of the most popular.
MHN: Does the leasing office see an increase in interest in resident events?
Autret: That’s kind of tricky because we can’t really market when it’s only for residents, because unless you’re going to invite people and ticketed, then there’s no point. It’s hard to measure this. But we do know that the events provide a lot of benefits for us. They create retention among the resident base. There’s also word of mouth—our referral rate is above 30 percent, and events are a part of that. It also supports a lot of local retailers. There are a lot of benefits—they’re just not tangible.