How to bring virtual recreation to your community while locked down
Updated: May 6, 2020
COVID-19 is raining on everyone's parades but amongst businesses, multifamily property owners that offer a lot of amenities and events may feel particularly impacted. In-person events of all sorts are now dangerous, meaning that much of the value that a lot of community-oriented properties offer is now hard to realize.
Additionally, it can be tougher to build community partnerships without the benefit of a virtual platform to help establish a reciprocal relationship. Although you can still connect tenants to services through the digital platform, bringing in service providers is a little tougher now than it was before the outbreak. Occupiers value perks for food delivery, but catering in food for social events may not be received well yet.
All is not lost, though. For residential managers, there are still ways to show community-oriented value amidst the shutdown. To the point of catered food above, instead of feeding people at big events, property owners can instead make it easier for their occupiers to individually order food, through discounts and loyalty programs shared through experience platforms.
Looking at some other examples right now, virtual fitness classes are one of the most common adaptations. But some operators are getting more creative. One American property manager is offering cooking lessons and storytelling for kids, and another is offering virtual museum tours and custom, local information on restaurants that deliver.
While COVID-19 has added an element of life-or-death practicality to the property management business, the best professionals will still be gauged largely by how creative they can get in order to offer compelling virtual perks to their residents.
One other activity that people can absolutely still do is virtual gaming. Not only traditional video gaming, now seeing record sales itself, but also virtual board gaming and bar-style games as well.
So how can property managers start to offer gaming to their residents?
First of all, make sure your tenants know about the options out there to them.
There are plenty of cheap or free gaming options out there right now that are applicable to casual audiences. For one thing, Apple's iMessage services comes pre-installed with a number of casual games that can be played with friends right through the app itself. There are other dedicated social gaming apps as well, that allow people to video chat while playing either board games or even some simpler video games. Bunch and Houseparty are two examples.
Alternatively, your solution could be as simple as jumping onto a Zoom or Google Hangouts to offer a weekly quiz night to residents. That doesn't take any specialized technology at all, since you can generate the questions yourself based on local trivia, pop culture or anything else. For more on creating a great quiz, check out this article from Wired.
At Spaceflow, we actually hold a weekly quiz ourselves, and it's a ton of fun for everyone taking the part, even the organizer.
Next, it's important that you make sure your residents aware.
With bulletin boards in areas of congregation now being a very bad idea, tenant experience platforms like Spaceflow are even more relevant than ever as ways to communicate to residents and keep everyone on the same page. In Spaceflow itself, why not create an event and then periodically reshare it via announcements?
Finally, make it a recurring thing.
The outbreak may not let up any time soon. As terrible as it is, it provides a long-term opportunity for you to demonstrate your value to your residents. You should not only follow the tips in our recent residential manager's guide, but also take this as an opportunity to refine your property's culture and identity. Casual or luxury? These descriptors can influence the type of activities, and gaming in particular, that you offer. For a casual community, maybe it's a quiz. If you have a luxury identity, maybe offer a book or news discussion group. The opportunities are endless.
While COVID-19 has added an element of life-or-death practicality to the property management business, the best professionals will still be gauged largely by how creative they can get in order to offer compelling virtual perks to their residents. There's no time like the present to up your game!
Find out how to keep your spaces extra clean and safe here.
Read our CEO's statement on COVID-19 right here.
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