Pokémon Go is now the biggest mobile game in U.S. history. Just a few days after launching, the viral game hit 21 million daily users. Just for comparison, the popular matching game Candy Crush has roughly 20 million users.
The game is a hit with millennials right now, giving them a taste of the simpler days when watching Pokémon and playing the card game was all a user had to worry about. With the new version, players get alerts from their phones when Pokémon are hiding nearby, so as they’re going about their day—working, grocery shopping, gathering at the bar—they can catch ‘em all wherever they go. There was even a stampede in New York’s Central Park when players were alerted that a rare Pokémon was nearby.
Multifamily data and research firm Axiometrics has picked up on the trend, noticing that residents at properties they visit are all playing the game.
“When we visit properties, we’re seeing 50 to 100 people at a time out hunting for Pokémon. Several people were dressed up in dinosaur costumes and all sorts of crazy stuff. They looked like they were having fun,” says Stephanie McCleskey, vice president of research at Axiometrics.
McCleskey and her team have devised a few ways property managers can use the game to engage with current and new residents and have a little fun with it.
“Capitalizing on the latest trends is a great way to attract new residents and engender resident involvement and loyalty,” says McCleskey.
1. Have a “catch-’em-all” party. Provide beverages and some burgers and hot dogs, and invite the residents to catch the Pokémon around the property. Make sure you have a shop and/or gym on-site and devise a point system. The winner gets a gift card, or something like a month’s free top-price parking.
2. “Lure” potential residents. The Pokémon Go app allows businesses to purchase “lures,” which unleash a gaggle of Pokémon in a certain area for a set period of time. Advertise where and when the cute little creatures will be available, and watch the foot traffic soar. Of course, have refreshments available, signage with specials, etc. Perhaps offer a special concession to those who catch a Pokémon on-site and apply right then.
Of course, this would require special security measures, since this could attract people who may not have good intentions. There have been reports of thieves and robbers stalking Pokémon hotbeds waiting for victims whose concentration is on their phones.
3. Hold a Pokémon gym competition. If your property includes a Pokémon gym, encourage residents to come in and battle each other for control of the space. This can be done in a tournament format. The winner gets a gift card.
4. Throw a student housing welcome party. Assuming Pokémon Go is still “a thing” in mid- to late August when students return to college for the fall semester, a property can get its residents socializing with a Pokémon-themed welcome party. Buy some lures, make sure the property has a store and a gym, and let the fun begin. You can even divide the residents into color-coded teams—if they’re Level 5 or above—and have some friendly competition.