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Top 5 Mistakes When Throwing An Apartment Party

Updated on March 15, 2012

Throwing an apartment party is no easy task.  If the “industry average” of 25% attendance actually shows up to your event, that means at least 50 residents showing up to your clubhouse!  And not only that, but those 50 people are essentially strangers to each other.  Throwing 50 strangers into a room is bound to create challenges in throwing an effective apartment party, so let’s go over the top five mistakes property managers consistently make, resulting in a lame, under-attended, and pretty pointless apartment party!

Keep in mind that although this lens is designed for property managers, apartment residents are encouraged to comment, as well!  Ever gone to a pitiful party at your apartment community?  Tell me about it below!

1) Expecting Your Residents Will Come – You can’t “expect” anything!

In the apartment industry, we see the apartment party as an amenity, as if we are giving our residents some great treat! But in reality, except for the free food, meeting up with dozens of random people is not exactly tops on their list – if it were, they could go to just about any bar for the same effect! So first of all, you have to make your apartment party compelling, as we’ll discuss below, as well as convincing your residents that it will actually be compelling! In other words, many apartment residents are probably pretty “trained” that the typical apartment party is not going to be the event of their lives. So if you are ready to really ramp up your efforts, you have to convince them to actually stop on by and see what you have in the works. So along with your actual party plans, you need to develop an attendance plan – how are you going to inform, entice, and remind your residents about your upcoming apartment party?

2) Selecting a Party Concept That Has Been Done Thousands of Times

If the first apartment party idea that pops into your head is a luau, you might be in trouble. To be fair, a luau is an ok party idea, but it has been done thousands of times before (probably literally). So you have two options before you fall into the luau trap.

        Option A – Continue with your luau idea, but ramp it up so that even Don Ho would be trying to score a ticket to your event!

        Option B – Scratch the luau and get the brainstorming started! To creating an Art Car to a fun run for charity, there are countless party and event ideas you can create for your residents.

Here are some event ideas you can work with:

Your party is not a rotisserie oven!
Your party is not a rotisserie oven!

3) You Set It And Forgot It!

Don’t just sit around and hope that your residents talk – make it happen! At this point, you should know a little something about each of your residents, with the very least being their name. Consider that you are the common bond between the entire group of people at your apartment party. Assume that absolutely none of them know each other, beyond the person they came with, which is probably almost completely accurate. This means that you yourself are the most important part of the party. It’s not the catering. It’s not the DJ. It is you. You determine whether your residents actually take the time to get to know each other. So one of the biggest mistakes in throwing an apartment party is forgetting to take the time to be a quality host, introducing different people at the event!

4) You Don’t Have Any Goals!

So why are you throwing an apartment party? Chances are that the #1 reason lies somewhere close to “we’ve always had one.” Take a moment to think about that, and you will see what a pitiful reason that truly is to have a party. Want to throw a few thousand dollars down the drain? Simply throw an apartment party without any goals or reasons why you are actually throwing it!

When you do anything on your job, it should ultimately have a goal. Some of them are easy – you take maintenance requests because if you didn’t, your residents would get upset and move away at the end of their lease. You keep up the landscaping to draw more prospects into your apartment community. Well, throwing a party should be the same situation! And as a hint, your goal should not simply be to create a “sense of community”. Although that is a fine end product, it is incredibly ambiguous. What does that actually mean? How do you know whether you succeeded? So you must have goals that are achievable and able to be calculated. For example, one of your goals could simply be drive attendance to the event. This can be counted and tracked over time, to help determine whether you are on the right track with your events. (I stress the word "one", as you should really have multiple goals for each event)

5) You Immediately Forgot About Your Apartment Party Once It Was Finished

This is probably the most common mistake when throwing an apartment party. As you know, it takes a lot of time, resources, and energy to properly throw an apartment party, so it’s pretty common to have a moment of relief when it is all done! But in reality, you have lost a LOT of value if you simply forget about it the next week. From pictures and videos posted on your Facebook Fan Page to a photo album in your community office, there are a lot of benefits to your apartment marketing, as well as resident retention with different post-event strategies. So think about how you can leverage your event to gain value well after the actual apartment party!


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