Having a sense of community unites us. It provides a chance to connect with others, to reach for our goals, have fun, and belong. Every person needs to have a sense of community and have a place to share in that community.
Whether you run a parks and rec department in a small town, operate a nationwide chain of multi-purpose facilities, or anything in between, at the heart of what you do is foster community. Here are some ways you can use your spaces to help build a stronger community:
1. Offer the community easier and more convenient scheduling options
Schedules are busy both for community members and your staff. Picking up the phone from 9–5 to do some research or reserve a space is not the most favorable way for community members to contact a business.
Give community members multiple ways to reach you when they’re ready:
- Email: With more than 3 billion emails sent each day, email is still a quick, easy, and popular choice for many. It also allows you to gather the sender’s name, company, and other pertinent information to add to your database for future messaging about your spaces for rent and other activities. However, be sure to follow the strict rules if you plan to do blanket email marketing; spam is not a good way to build community.
- Social: Social media is excellent for marketing your facility, but it is also a great way for potential renters to reach out instantly about the space you are promoting or to ask a general question. Be sure to monitor your social channels and reply promptly to make sure you don’t miss potential opportunities.
- Text: Be it WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or good “old-fashioned” SMS, allowing instant communication with current and past clients through messaging is an excellent way to up your communications and build a stronger connection with the members of your community. And, if they opt-in, you can effectively market to them going forward with text, which traditionally has a higher open rate than email.
- Scheduling software: Scheduling software is excellent for just that: scheduling! Look for scheduling software that allows registered renters to message the facility, which can help overcome the obstacles to booking while enabling them to reserve space without having to do it manually or later when your team is available, reducing lost bookings.
If that’s the case, it’s time to think outside the box!
Below are 3 unique uses for outdoor spaces you may not have considered (but that your community will be excited to utilize)!
2. Give the community the ability to create custom experiences
While communities are united by similar interests, no two members are identical. A celebration event or pick-up game for one might look entirely different for a neighbor.
Help make the event special by making it easy to fit their unique needs:
- Provide them with ways to add requests to their experience
- Invite them to share what their needs are to serve them better—they may not know everything you can provide
- Offer some unique ideas to use your space that they may not have thought of.
By helping renters create a one-of-a-kind experience, you can boost bookings and increase repeat renters while helping to build a stronger community.
3. Manage rental space with the community in mind
Build a buffer time into your scheduling to allow staff to make the next experience as great as the last. This gives your team time to get things ready. For example, add plenty of time for the grounds team to ensure fields and other outdoor spaces are groomed and ready for the next event. A clean space is a happy space, so give your community a clean space by giving staff the time they need to make the space as great as it can be.
4. Maintaining ongoing communication for a stronger community
Once the space is booked, that’s probably not the last time you’ll hear from the renter—and it certainly shouldn’t be the last time they hear from you!
Keep accessible channels of communication open—again, picking up the phone shouldn't be the only way to connect. Provide online chat, email, or other digital options such as messaging through your scheduling software. If a member of your team needs to follow up, set expectations for when they can expect to hear back from you.
Reach out proactively. To help build the connection with community members renting space, offer tips for the event via email. In addition, offer them a chance to opt into text messaging [or better yet, opt-out as part of the agreement] reminders of important dates and next steps.
Being part of a community is valuable, and our spaces are central to that experience. Spotz can help not only book more efficiently but help you integrate with your community from promotion through execution.
Help Renters Find Your Space
Download our infographic for more ideas to connect with your community.