Operations Best Practices

Senior Living Operators’ Challenges in 2023

September 5, 2023

According to Dreamscape Marketing firm, competition is fierce between senior living communities, and it’s the biggest challenge faced by sales and marketing teams. They are addressing this by spending more on marketing efforts with more planned for next year. Most marketers are struggling to target third-party decision-makers like adult children, and using search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and social media to promote their communities. 

While these are great strategies to fill beds, how do you keep them occupied? The cost of acquiring a new customer is generally higher than the cost of retaining an existing customer. Acquiring a new resident involves various marketing and advertising costs, sales efforts, lead generation, and sometimes initial discounts or incentives to entice the new resident, not to mention housekeeping and onboarding efforts. If you are addressing the challenge of competition, please ask yourself — does your resident experience match your marketing claims? 

Brand Promise

A brand promise is a value or experience that a community’s residents and their families can expect to receive every time they interact with that community. The more a community can deliver on that promise, the stronger the brand value in the mind of residents, their families, AND employees.

Marketing as a discipline often gets a lot of flak for overpromising and under delivering, but it's never that simple. Successful organizations have a strong brand promise that extends from administration to every level of the organization. When the brand promise is strong throughout the organization, it's easier to keep residents and reduce turnover. 

How do you ensure your organization can walk the talk?

  1. Exceptional Care and Services

Prioritize high-quality healthcare services, personalized care plans, and specialized programs to meet residents' needs across all the dimensions of wellness. Offer a range of programming and activities that meet these dimensions.

  1. Create a Welcoming Environment

Design comfortable and aesthetically pleasing living spaces that are both functional and homely. From day one, you can use resident profiles and resident matching to ensure they are set up for success.

  1. Cultivate a Sense of Community

Organize regular social events, outings, and group activities to encourage residents to interact and build relationships with each other. Establish resident-led committees or clubs that allow seniors to engage in hobbies, share experiences, and contribute to the community. Get residents involved in the facilitation of events.

  1. Tailor to Individual Interests

Offer a variety of activities and programs to cater to diverse interests, such as arts and crafts, gardening, book clubs, cooking classes, and more. Provide opportunities for residents to pursue lifelong passions and discover new hobbies. Use resident profiles to match programming to the community’s interests. Residents now expect personalized care.

  1. Transparent Communication

Maintain open lines of communication with residents and their families. Keep them informed about community updates, events, and policy changes. With modern technology like Welbi, you can go to family meetings confidently with a digitized list of everything their loved ones participated in.

  1. Staff Training and Engagement

Hiring compassionate, energetic staff dedicated to providing excellent care and creating meaningful relationships with residents is only part of the secret recipe. Operators must also empower the team with tools that make them better at their job. By leveraging tools like Welbi, the team will be able to know the resident without knowing the resident and build personalized programming that can scale. 

Final Thoughts

Operators’ challenges in a competitive landscape are formidable. As efforts intensify to attract new residents through various strategies, the critical question arises: how can you ensure a resident's experience aligns with your marketing claims? A robust brand promise, extending from administration to every level of the organization, establishes a foundation for resident satisfaction and retention. By focusing on exceptional care, creating a welcoming environment, fostering community, tailoring activities, maintaining transparent communication, and investing in staff training and engagement, operators can authentically walk the talk. As the industry evolves, embracing these principles not only enriches residents' lives but also bolsters the community's reputation and success.

Katie Stewart

Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.

Holly Mathias

Holly is a member of Welbi’s Marketing team! She has a background in communications and marketing, and is a compassionate individual who loves team work, story telling, and wellness.

Wendy Riopelle

Wendy is a student in the Honours BA in English program at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.

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