The Super Bowl 50 kickoff is scheduled for promptly 6:30 pm (ET) on February 7th. While football fans from around the country will be gathering at or hosting Super Bowl parties, it’s a perfect opportunity to build camaraderie among your tenants (and probably some friendly rivalries, too)!
If you have the space in the building, put the game on a big screen and offer drinks and food to residents who want to attend. You may even consider hosting a chili cook-off or potluck!
Andrew Kiener, vice president and director of project sales and leasing for Chicago-based Kinzie Group, says his company hosts numerous resident parties throughout the year that have seen a great turnout. We talked with Andrew about how best to play host for the Super Bowl and other events.
Q: First, how do you let residents know that there’s going to be an event?
A: We use social media whenever we can including Facebook, which is a great way to communicate with residents and future residents, as well as recap what we’ve done. But we also do postings by elevators and in any clubhouses of our buildings when we’re leading up to an event. For some events, we do RSVPs when we want to gauge how many attendees we might have such as New Year’s Eve, but sometimes we don’t. We haven’t yet done surveys to hear reactions and see how we can improve events, but we might.
Q: Where’s the best place to hold them—on-site in a lounge? Or outdoors if there’s a big deck?
A: We host all events on-site at the community itself, which is convenient for residents, and highlights the space. We’ll vary the venue within the community between indoors and outdoors, depending on the time of year and type of event.
Q: But what about if a building doesn’t have a community space, lounge or deck? Do you ever do off-site events?
A: If you don’t have the setup to host on-site, what’s more important is giving residents a chance to get together. We have hosted events off-site when a community was still under construction, and wanted to celebrate a groundbreaking, for example. We’ll find a popular place near the community, which can provide a great opportunity to highlight a local restaurant or other local attraction.
Q: Do you pick up all the costs, or ask tenants for a small payment?
A: We host all our events and don’t ask residents to share in the costs.
Q: What time of day or night works best, and what foods do you serve?
A: We vary the hours depending on the type of event. For example, we hosted a New Year’s Eve party which, of course, was at night. And we do pool parties or barbecues in the afternoon. Or we’ll do something for pet owners and perhaps set that up for a late morning. The food and refreshments vary on the time and activity. We’ve had ice cream socials and hot chocolate bars in the afternoon, and other events we’ll have heavier appetizers, or something like grilled hot dogs at lunch or later in the day. Sometimes, we’ll offer beer and wine; other times we stick with non-alcoholic drinks. Pot-luck suppers or brunches are a great idea, which we haven’t yet tried but would certainly entertain the opportunity.
Q: How have most residents responded?
A: We’ve enjoyed great turn-out, typically around 50 to 60 residents at a community of about 300 units. We invite residents to bring friends and family along to neighborhood events as this is a great way for our residents to share with others the lifestyle that our community provides. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from residents. These events serve as a terrific community builder.
Q: What are the most important holidays and events to organize around?
A: We plan events both around the season and holidays. We host Halloween parties, Thanksgiving gatherings, a holiday gift-wrapping and hot chocolate party, New Year’s Eve party. And then we’ll do something in the summer with the pool and in the spring or the fall with the pet parks or outdoor amenities like bocce ball.
Q: Any non-holiday events, such as a trivia night, Scrabble games, or bridge? And what about tailoring these to different ages?
A: Yes, we do non-holiday events, too, like barbecues, pool parties, wine tastings. For the most part, we make our events appeal to all ages. But we also have done a few events that were more for the 21-plus crowd such as wine tastings.
Q: What about themes, decorations, and food?
A: It’s all the better when you can tie an event to an on-site amenity such as hosting a Super Bowl party in a theater room or club room with big screen TV. We keep the decorations simple, yet festive. For example, with a Super Bowl party, the decorations would be minimal, and we’d incorporate the theme into the presentation of the food, say, football-shaped platters of chicken or a cake decorated like a football field.
Q: Any other events if there are a lot of kids in a building or Senior Citizens?
A: What’s great about many of the events we host is that they bring all ages together. Everyone can come together to enjoy a ice cream sundae bar or cookout. As property managers, you get to know the residents and learn that maybe there are a lot of bridge players, then it’s great to put together a monthly game in the clubhouse or common room. Or, maybe you host a quarterly kids’ movie night. These events don’t have to take a lot of pre-planning or expense. The goal is to bring people together and create that sense of building friendship–a win-win all around.
Are you planning on hosting a Super Bowl party or another community event this year? What are you favorite ways to bring the community together? Share some of your best ideas in the comment section.Read more on Resident Management