Marketing for Special Events to Influence Member Participation - Private Communities Media Kit Marketing for Special Events to Influence Member Participation - Private Communities Media Kit

Marketing for Special Events to Influence Member Participation

Published on June 23, 2020

By Amber Natale, President of Smarthinking Inc.

As a private community, one of the most important goals of your offering is to create a sense of community. A place where members and residents can socialize and experience opportunities that they would not be able to do anywhere else. In the wake of the COVID -19 pandemic, planning events has to be more thought out to ensure everyone’s safety and security. At the same time, COVID-19 has taught us all the value of community and that people crave it now more than ever.

A strong sense of community increases member satisfaction, thereby having a positive effect on retention, new member recruitment, and the overall sense of goodwill about your community. If we all know the critical value that a sense of community brings to your property, why do we not have a comprehensive effort to build it? Not only in the form of better programming and events, but in the robust marketing of these events? Let’s look at three critical factors needed to create well-attended, unforgettable events at your property.


When it comes to developing active member participation, it starts with a great product. In other words, how valuable is your event? Is it something that people would want to attend? Can they attend this event elsewhere, or is this an exclusive event in your community? Does this event foster a sense of belonging, or is this an individual event that does not encourage member interaction? Does this event support your overall brand strategy, or does this not fit your core values? These are questions that your entire team should be asking before you embark on planning any event at your community. It’s essential to not only carefully develop unforgettable events but also think about how you will measure success at these events. Some of those success measures will be financially focused, and others will simply be participation. Take the time to define success and communicate the specific definitions to your team, so they understand what is expected, and then analyze the events after ensuring you are delivering nothing but the best to your community.


How do you go about spreading the word for your events? Is it word of mouth? Placement in your monthly newsletter? The occasional email to your membership? Do you plan out your communication plan annually? Or is it a reactive approach that waits until the last minute? Maybe you incorporate a mixture of both? The communities that are the most successful with member participation take the time to build a great product (as outlined above). They then aggressively and beautifully promote the schedule to their members through a variety of mediums: print, digital, film, etc. The communication schedule to members should be as robust and well defined as your outgoing marketing efforts are for new residents/members. Utilize all the tools that are available to you: email marketing, in-house print ads, films, newsletters, etc. There is no one channel solution – your strategy has to be all-encompassing, taking into account reach and frequency just like you would be outside of your community. Also, it’s incredibly important for private communities to put as much effort behind their internal communications as they do their external communications. Your brand value starts internally with your existing members. Make your communication with them as vibrant and compelling as any major lifestyle brand would. You have too much to lose if you don’t.

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Set amongst beautiful French-imported vineyards in Mexico is The Vines, a highly anticipated new luxury boutique hotel and residential community. Smarthinking Inc. created a quarterly magazine called “Deep Rooted” to tout the community’s lifestyle offerings, as well as a web portal to get involved with a variety of activities.


As a private community, you work hard to build and cultivate a membership that is willing to pay for service, excellence, and exceptional experiences. It is the basis for what you do, so don’t reverse order when it comes time to programming. Build and promote events that people want to be a part of, and then charge them accordingly. Your members expect it. They want the best, and they want to be a part of the best, so give them what they want and don’t be afraid to build high-ticket events. If you are creating experiences that they can only get with you, they will happily pay for the experience and the ability to be a part of it. This does not mean that every event needs to be expensive, but communities often take the opposite approach and try to bring the prices down as low as they can to encourage participation. If you build it and promote it correctly from the start, members will be willing to pay for it. Create the demand and then charge what is required to deliver that experience.

Many aspects go into building a truly remarkable events schedule at a private community. Still, it all starts with the proper planning and evaluation of what it will take to be successful. I would encourage you to put in the effort needed to create not only a prosperous schedule for your community with high member participation, but also one that has the necessary factors required to differentiate yourself, allowing you to recruit better and build a more profitable community for all involved.

About Smarthinking Inc.
Smarthinking Inc. is an integrated brand development agency with a distinct focus on real estate and hospitality. Founded in 2006, the agency was created to solve business challenges through the creation of compelling stories that businesses tell every day in a variety of mediums. For a brand to be a viable success, the agency believes the brand message has to be strategically incorporated into every aspect of the operation. In order to truly differentiate each client’s product, Smarthinking follows the guiding principle of, THINK CRITICALLY, ACT CREATIVELY™. This has molded the agency’s reputation for delivering inventive and imaginative concepts. For more information, visit or call 888.315.4056.

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