Last Updated on January 18, 2024 by Luke Feldbrugge
Coming up with client appreciation event ideas, that make your clients feel special and important without breaking the bank and burning up a lot of time, can be challenging. But, your event does not need to be a big production. Sometimes the little things mean more than the grand gestures. The great thing about hosting an event is you can show your appreciation for current customers, reconnect with past clients, meet new prospects and, dare we say it, have a great time doing it!
Client Appreciation Event Ideas and Considerations
There’s no getting around it. Events can be challenging to coordinate if you choose to run your own event. There is always the option of eliminating a lot of the work if you can delegate it, or simply participate or sponsor (but still attend) a pre-existing event.
Here we provide some client appreciation event ideas for you to consider hosting yourself or with a partner(s). Regardless, we recommend looking through your lens of time management and finances before committing.
These ideas are in person events. As you know, it is the best way to connect with people. There are reasons to consider virtual events, but we are not covering those here. The client appreciation event ideas we are providing, and the steps outlined to set them up, are intended to encourage face-to-face interactions, small talk, socializing and introducing yourself to members of your community who may become future clients.
It’s about taking your networking to the next level. Because…and this is a potential reality…good relationships may be all you see as a return from an event. That’s why it’s important that an event aligns with your interests, so you can enjoy it while hosting it, and that you’re good with knowing you may not see any new business from it.
Why Host Client Appreciation Events?
The biggest reason: Most of your competition do not do events. Mainly because they can be hard, but maybe you’ve heard this before:
If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.
Hosting client appreciation events help to differentiate you from other real estate agents in your area and position you as a trusted expert in your field. Trust is further built by showing your appreciation. A client appreciation event shows your clients that you value their business and appreciate their loyalty.
These events help you to connect with your clients on a personal level, which can build stronger client relationships and increase referrals.
You may want to consider making your events an annual occurrence, creating a tradition and building a deeper connection with your clients and their family members over time. Generally speaking it takes years before one of your clients will be ready to move again after their first home purchase, so creating an annual tradition of showing your appreciation keeps you front and center in a meaningful way.
Plus, each time you host the event, it should get easier. You’ll likely figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Who to Invite to a Client Appreciation Event?
When thinking through client appreciation event ideas, you will want to consider the guest list. While it’s important to show your appreciation to your existing clients, you may also want to invite potential clients and other professionals in your industry. The guest list should be entirely driven by the event itself and what will be taking place during the event.
Regardless, any event can help to expand your network and potentially generate new business.
That said, an important consideration must be your budget and how many people you can afford to host for any event.
Some people to consider inviting include:
- Existing clients
- Potential clients
- Family and friends of clients
- Other real estate agents
- Mortgage brokers
- Home inspectors
- Title companies
- Insurance agents
- Local builders and contractors
That may seem like a wide net, but a good mix of previous clients, new clients and potential clients could work to your advantage. Again, it really depends upon the event and the activities during the event.
Expenses for Client Appreciation Events
When planning a client appreciation event, it’s important to consider your budget. While you don’t need to break the bank, you also don’t want to appear cheap or insincere. Some factors to consider when determining your budget include:
- The number of people you plan to invite
- The type of event you plan to host
- The location of the event
- The food and beverage costs
- The cost of any giveaways or prizes
The costs add up fast. Including other real estate industry professionals is an easy way to get co-sponsors for the event. After all, mortgage brokers want to meet these clients for the same reasons you do. Maybe these business partners would be interested in helping with the costs so the entire event isn’t completely on you?
Figuring out how many people will come is complicated. For your first one, you might want to send out personal invitations and encourage folks to RSVP. Once you have a few under your belt, you will be able to make accurate estimates about how many folks will show up.
9 Steps to Make Client Appreciation Event Ideas a Reality
Here’s a basic guide for real estate agents to host a memorable client appreciation event. We’ve included rough time estimates that are completely hypothetical, but worth considering. We’ve also included some costs you may want to think about for each step. Not everything noted may apply to the event you plan to host (ie: give-aways), but they were included for consideration before you get to far into things.
Step 1: Planning
- Identify a suitable date and time.
- Choose a location (could be a park, clubhouse, or even your office parking lot).
- Estimate costs for permits, venue rental, and insurance.
- Time Estimate: 2 weeks.
Step 2: Budgeting
- Set a budget for the event, including food, decorations, entertainment, and giveaways.
- Calculate the estimated cost per attendee and multiply by anticipated total.
- Time Estimate: 1 week.
Step 3: Invitations
- Create personalized invitations (ideally with RSVP options – rsvpify offers up to 100 digital invites for free).
- Collect contact details of clients.
- Costs: Printing and postage or digital invitations.
- Time Estimate: 2 weeks.
Step 4: Event Logistics
- Arrange necessary services (food and beverage, activities, volunteers).
- Rent tables, chairs, and tents if necessary.
- Consider entertainment (live music, games).
- Costs: Catering, rentals, entertainment.
- Time Estimate: 4 weeks.
Step 5: Client Engagement
- Create a warm welcome atmosphere.
- Prepare a brief speech to express gratitude (practice and memorize it).
- Arrange personalized thank-you gifts.
- Costs: Gifts and decorations.
- Time Estimate: 1 week.
Step 6: Event Day
- Set up early, ensuring everything is in place.
- Assign roles to team members or volunteers.
- Ensure food and drinks are ready on time.
- Time Estimate: Full day (set up, host event, take down)
Step 7: Event Follow-Up
- Send thank-you emails or cards to attendees.
- Share event photos on social media and your website.
- Consider a survey for feedback (Google forms is a free service)
- Time Estimate: 1 week.
Step 8: Evaluation
- Review event costs and ROI.
- Analyze attendee feedback for improvements.
- Adjust the budget and plan for the next event.
- Time Estimate: 1 week.
Step 9: Continuous Improvement
- Incorporate lessons learned into future events.
- Stay engaged with clients throughout the year.
- Keep building personal relationships.
- Time Estimate: Ongoing.
The key to making clients feel special is personalization, attention to detail, and genuine gratitude. Tailor each step to your clients’ preferences and always strive for excellence in every aspect of the event.
10 Client Appreciation Event Ideas for REALTORS®
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what hosting an event can entail, here are 10 client appreciation event ideas to get you started on making another lasting impression on your current and former clients.
1) Client Appreciation BBQ or Picnic
Host a casual outdoor barbecue or picnic event where clients can relax, socialize, and enjoy good food. This laid-back gathering allows clients to connect with you and each other in a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere.
2) BBQ Part 2 – Summer BBQ Cook-off
Organize a friendly barbecue cook-off competition among clients, with prizes for the best dishes. This event promotes friendly competition and allows clients to showcase their culinary skills while having a great time.
3) Wine Tasting
Wine tasting is a sophisticated event that can be a great idea for connecting with your clients on a personal level. You can host it at a local winery or at a restaurant that offers wine flights. You can also partner with a local cheese shop to provide cheese pairings. Remember that there is a whole new crop of non-alcoholic wines out there, so this event can be completely inclusive.
4) Volunteer Event
Consider hosting a volunteer event where you and your clients can give back to the community. This can be a great way to build strong relationships with your clients and show that you care about more than just making a sale. You can volunteer at a local food bank, animal shelter, or beach cleanup.
5) Client Appreciation Movie Night
If you’re a movie lover and want to share your joy of the big screen, rent out a local movie theater and invite clients and their families for a private movie screening. Enjoying a movie together provides a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere for clients to connect, without it being “too social,” because you get to watch a movie instead of working a room.
6) Themed Client Parties
Organize themed parties around holidays, such as a Halloween costume party, a Christmas party, or a summer beach bash. Themed parties add a fun element to your agent/client relationship. They show your enjoyment of things outside of work and business, and your willingness to share the fun with them.
7) Local Sporting Event
If you and your clients are sports fans, consider hosting a sporting event. Make it a community sponsored softball game (or similar activity where all can participate) for all ages, where teams are randomly selected. Or, on the more costly side, you can rent out a suite or box at a local stadium or arena. Maybe event purchase a block of tickets. Either way, provide everyone with food and drinks for a good time.
8) Client Game Night
Host a game night featuring board games, card games, or even video games, encouraging friendly competition and social interaction. Game nights are a fun and lighthearted way to build relationships and create lasting memories.
9) For the Home Art Show
Hosting an art show can be a sophisticated event that showcases local artists and allows you to connect with your clients. Make it all home related items, and support your local artist community. Maybe partner with a local art gallery to host the event, or host it in your own home. Provide hors d’oeuvres and drinks, and let your clients appreciate the artwork.
10) Real Estate Community Mixer (Must Provide Take-Home Value)
Arrange a networking mixer event where clients can meet local business owners that have home maintenance products/services. Host this event in the spring or fall, where home maintenance is top of mind for home owners. Get other local businesses to attend and provide free tips and insight that helps them get more leads/business. Clients will appreciate your efforts to introduce them to other community members and potential business partners.
These social events are all about creating relaxed and enjoyable opportunities for clients to build relationships, connect with you and your team, and to feel valued as part of your real estate community. Not to mention, it’s a great way to show your appreciation and offer thanks to the people who pay your bills and keep you in business.
Events Not Your Thing? Other Ideas to Thank Clients
We’ve compiled another list of ideas to thank your clients if events turn out not to be your thing after reading all that can go into them. Please keep in mind these client appreciation event ideas and considerations we’ve outlined for you are simply that worth considering. The nice thing about hosting an event is you can make it entirely your own. Honestly, your clients would probably expect nothing less!
Join Homes for Heroes – Further Differentiate Yourself
Homes for Heroes can help you specialize in your market and grow your real estate business by helping your local heroes buy, sell or refinance a home. You can offer them something special, something beyond the transaction, by saving them significant money as a way to thank them for their service.
And, when your join our program, this blog post is just the beginning of the valuable assets we provide our members; including marketing materials, partnerships and dedicated team member support.
Simply submit your registration and schedule a time to learn more about the benefits of being a Homes for Heroes local market specialist, and become the agent your community heroes want to work with for their home needs.