The holidays are coming and 2020 especially is bringing on new challenges many in the multifamily industry are still trying to figure out how best to handle. How do we market during the holiday season in the wake of Covid? Can we still host events? Should we focus only on retention and not bother trying to fill vacancies during the holidays? We say…there is a way to do it all.
Don’t skip out on any one thing or you could be missing out on big opportunities. It doesn’t mean you will do things as you have in the past, of course, there are adjustments to be made. But just because it’s cold outside or the pandemic is still happening, doesn’t mean life is shut down. It just means, life must adjust. Sure, some areas of the country are open a bit more than others, but with careful planning, it can happen.
Use this time to foster relationships, build awareness around your community and engage with your current residents to keep them, well…retained. Ramp up your marketing, rather than downplay, in order to set the stage for the upcoming spring months when more people are leasing.
So, get ready because we have some awesome holiday apartment marketing ideas for you to check out no matter where you’re located, what your budget is or what the weather is like. Get ready for some fun!
Host an Open House
Baby it’s cold outside and what better time to invite people inside with for hot chocolate and frosted sugar cookies. Decorate the club house in beautiful holiday décor and invite your current residents along with a friend to come in for an evening of Christmas music and food.
Socially distanced option: Create beautiful hand-made “Baby It’s Cold Outside” packages filled with baggies of hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, and sugar cookies! Drop off to each resident in a gift bag hung on the door.
Scroll down to the bottom to get your free download templates for both of these ideas!
Personalized Holiday Greeting Cards
Who does not love getting holiday cards during this time of year? In our house, we still believe in the nostalgic practice of taping them around our doorway as they arrive from friends and family. Rather than buying some generic Christmas Card that gets mass mailed to everyone with the same message, why not send your cards in to a printer to have each resident’s name printed on the card or print them yourselves? It will add a bit of personalization your residents will appreciate.
Scroll down to the bottom to get your free download template for your own holiday card.
Promote A Holiday Referral Program
You may already have a referral program in place but now is the time to really let it shine. A stronger incentive just might be the ticket to drive new residents to your community from referrals by keeping your regular referral program as usual but adding in an extra bonus during the holidays like a new television to watch their favorite Hallmark Christmas movie on or a year’s supply of hot chocolate. Get creative and think of things people would not normally buy for themselves on the regular.
Kick Start A Positive Review Campaign
Of course we want reviews year round, but right now is the time to really push to get them in. Reviews are essentially free advertising for your community and rather than waiting for the next angry resident to leave a negative review, start the process to drive ALL reviews, including positives to the review platforms. Start with your maintenance team. Give them all holiday cards to hand out at the end of every maintenance call asking for the resident to please leave a review. Setting up an email funnel with a follow-up process is another easy process to put in place to ask for reviews.
Revamp Your Website
Now is the absolute perfect time to overhaul your website into something even more amazing than it already was. Think of how your residents view your community and ask yourself if your website matches that reputation. Is it user friendly? Is it easy to find where to pay rent online? Are your social channels all available on it? Is it properly indexed and secured for SEO purpose? If you aren’t sure, be sure to get in touch with us for a full website audit.
Hold a Christmas Tree Decorating Contest
We love this idea because it can be done completely online and doesn’t require anything face-to-face. Use social media to announce your Christmas tree decorating contest and have your residents submit their entry via a photo entry on the post. This is so easy, fast and best of all, many times these types of things get shared onto their own personal pages, which means, more exposure for you.
Scroll down to the bottom to download a free template for this idea!
Community Service Project
Now more than ever, people want to come together to do something. To make a difference. Your community could work together to host a clothing drive, food drive or any other type of drive for a charitable purpose. Adopt a family for Thanksgiving or Christmas and provide a wonderful meal all made possible by your community staff and/or residents. Poll your staff for causes they care about and come up with a plan to involve your residents.
Tree Lighting Ceremony
If your property already has a large tree or has a place that you can put up a large tree, string up the lights, add a few decorations and ask residents to stop by and add their own decoration to the tree all way up until a designated date in December, preferable early. Invite the residents down on a special evening (maybe on your Baby it’s Cold Outside Open House night) and hold an official tree lighting ceremony with a countdown.
Socially distanced option: We’ve got two options for you with this. You can even do both options and your residents might appreciate it if it’s cold outside. First option, hold a Facebook live video to do the count down right on your Facebook page as it happens. This is an exciting way to get your residents excited to watch and traffic to your page. Second, if Facebook live is not an option or you wanted to do this in addition to it, have the residents view the tree lighting ceremony right from their car. Remind them to come early to get a prime spot.
You guessed it! Scroll on down because we’ve got a FREE template pack for you for this idea!
Winter Wonderland Photo Op
Not everyone likes to traverse the mall for the holiday photo-op. Convert your clubhouse patio/entryway into a holiday Winter Wonderland and invite your residents to stop by any time and use the “set” to take pictures in. Of course, you’ll also want to ask them to tag you or post their photo directly on your Facebook page so everyone can see the festivities.
In case you couldn’t guess…yeah…we’ve got a free template for this too. Scroll on down.
Decorate Your Balcony
This is another favorite of ours because it let’s people stay warm inside while your community personnel does the leg work. Ask your residents to decorate their balcony and then have your staff take photos of all the balconies to be voted on, either by staff or by posting the photos online and having the community as a whole place their vote. Designate a winner with an announcement online and a special notice in the community newsletter. You could even come up with a prize pack of holiday goodies.
Need I say more? Just give it a scroll.
Get Personal In Your Community
Bringing your residents together along with your staff builds relationships and fosters retention. One really engaging way to interact with your residents is to invite them to contribute to something they’d love to share or are proud of. Many of us have a favorite Christmas memory, a tradition, family recipe, Christmas movie, etc. Create a social post, highlighting one of your staff’s pick for one of these favorites and ask your residents to submit their favorite recipe, memory or holiday tradition.
We hope some of these apartment marketing ideas will help you ramp up your community awareness, resident retention and even fill a few vacancies. Happy Holidays!
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Amber Rickerson is Director of Marketing at Blue Cricket Media. Her passion for marketing and social media are second only to her love of Mt. Dew, University of Kentucky basketball, her children, husband and black lab, Reno. You can find her (and her family's) adventures on Instagram (@ozandamber) or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.