The countdown is on – to Christmas that is! Each workday brings you one step closer to the big day and every property manager can attest to the fact that this a busy, as well as stressful, time of year. Extra resident activities, increased traffic from visiting family members, large quantities of package deliveries and never-ending phone calls and resident needs can quickly make the most wonderful time of the year feel like the most chaotic time of the year. We want to help put the cheer back in the holiday season for you with these helpful tips that will improve resident relationships, increase resident loyalty and most of all – show your residents that their rental community truly cares about them and their needs.

Christmas is a season of giving, and there’s no better way to help manage your residents through the holidays than to give back and show them how much you appreciate them. You can even extend November’s thankfulness theme into December as a way to express gratitude and thank your residents for all that they do; after all, without them, there would be no residential community to celebrate.

Hand-Written Notes

Let’s start by taking it back, way back to the good old days of a thank you card. Think about it. When was the last time you received a hand-written note? It’s the simplest gesture that can make a huge difference in a resident’s day. Dust off the stationary and practice your penmanship with some personalized, hand-written notes to your residents this year. They don’t have to be elaborate or long. Just a few lines letting them know that you’re thinking of them during the holidays.

Gate-Side Services

This is truly one of the simplest ways to manage your residents this time of year. Not only will it give you one-on-one contact with people, but it’s a visible way let your residents know that you’re here to support them and that you will do the simple things to help them feel appreciated. The other benefit of gate-side service is that you’re helping your residents start their day off right, if you do a morning service, or end their day on a positive note if you do an evening service. This event has limitless options for you as a property manager as well. It’s something that can be done anytime, weather permitting, and is relatively easy to throw together and is generally inexpensive as an added bonus. During the holidays consider some of the following ideas: curbside coffee (or hot chocolate, juice, etc.) is a perfect start to a chilly morning, or if you think your residents might be hungry you could provide pre-packaged breakfasts such as danishes and breakfast sandwiches. For an evening gate-side gratitude event, you could greet the residents with a $5.00 pizza from a local vendor. Another spin-off of this idea is to provide treats and/or hot beverage in easily accessible areas such as the leasing office. Avoid foods with nuts and common allergens and don’t forget to leave treats for any pets too. We promise that anything you do will be appreciated by your residents.

Holiday Photo Session

Photo sessions are a great way to say thank you to the families of your residential community. Pinterest has made sending Christmas cards a true work of art and what better way to join in this trendy holiday activity than to have a photo-op on site? This is also a great way to utilize social media. Jump on Facebook and Instagram and search for local photographers in your area. There might even be a resident in your community who has a hidden talent you never knew about. For a relatively low budget, the photographer can put together a great holiday background and you can offer your residents’ either free or discounted photo sessions. Families will greatly appreciate an inexpensive photo session that they don’t have to travel far to enjoy.  

Communication is Key

Although communication isn’t a tangible way to express your gratefulness to your residents during the holidays, it might be the biggest gift you can give them. You as the property manager aren’t the only one feeling the stress of the holidays – your residents are too. Keeping this in mind, make this time of year as easy as you can for them. The best way to do this is to communicate effectively. It’s always a good idea to post any important information in the lobby and shared spaces but it might be more effective to text blast your residents about any community events, changes in holiday hours or inclement weather situations in order to spread the word quickly. Also, consider notifying residents of any package deliveries. Not only is this a helpful reminder to the residents, but you can customize it with a picture so they know what to look for when they get home.

Whatever way you choose to say thank you, just be sure it’s genuine. Your residents will be able to tell if your actions are sincere and in today’s social media culture people are more willing to share these experiences, both good and bad, to an online community. So be sure that you give them a positive experience to share and a memorable holiday season. After all, giving thanks should be a year-round event.