Achieving maximum occupancy is the goal of every senior living community, from independent living communities in the Arizona and Florida to Alzheimer’s and skilled nursing care communities in Canada. Occupancy is the key to achieving profitability and financial sustainability for senior living communities across the continuum of care.
However, achieving maximum occupancy is not an easy feat, but one of the most effective tools for achieving this goal is using technology.
There are four ways senior living communities can use technology to increase occupancy:
1. Managing reviews: According to a Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey of 25,000 internet consumers, 70% of respondents said that online reviews had an impact on their buying decisions. In fact, the survey found that online reviews had more of an impact on consumers than advertising on radio, television, billboards, or magazines. And the positive impact isn’t just limited to positive reviews, either: a 2011 Harris Interactive Retail Consumer Report found that of consumers who received a response from a company after posting negative comments, more than one-third deleted their initial negative review, and a similar number later added a positive review describing their most recent experience. So make sure your residents and their families are telling the virtual world about their experiences with your community!
2. Better prospect tracking: In order to fill beds, senior living communities need to convert prospects to leads, and then to customers. But managing the entire process can be daunting, and many communities may not be as effective as they need to be in order to maximize their occupancy potential. Some of the ways communities can track their prospects better is by designing and building customized e-mails and landing pages, as well as tracking the open and click rates. Also consider automating your e-mails, so that prospects who perform certain tasks (such as clicking a link) are sent one type of e-mail, whereas prospects who do not click links are sent another e-mail more targeted to what they are looking for. Not only does this target the right groups with the right information, it also helps to save time by automating tasks.
3. Technology that turns tours to move ins: Community tours are one of the most effective ways of showing off your residents to prospects and their families. From the welcoming staff members to the state-of-the-art amenities, community tours share the best of what you have to offer. And when families of prospective residents visit your community, are you showcasing a residence that is updated, or one which is stale? One excellent way to showcase how current your community is by providing digital signage in the lobbies and common areas. Digital signage can be affordable, and it offers families of residents the opportunity to see what their loved ones are eating, what activities they are participating in, and what events are planned by staff members. Not only does it help to keep staff-resident lines of communication open, it can make a big impression for people on tour visits.
4. SEO and reaching new audiences: When older people are looking for senior living communities for themselves, many will ask their friends, acquaintances, and associates for their thoughts and advice. But for many – including their adult children – Google is also a treasured resource. And when prospects in your area are on Google looking for information on senior housing options, is your community’s website the first result? Is it even on the first page of results? If not, you are missing out on hundreds of potential prospects. One way to get your community’s website increased prominence on search engines is by advertising on highly-trafficked online housing directories, as well as investing in the experience of internet marketing experts.
Although achieving maximum occupancy is a challenge for most senior living communities, it is a goal which can be accomplished, especially if technology is properly used. Although every community is different, and local, non-technological challenges exist, using these four strategies can help improve your company’s online reputation, boost the number of people who find you online, increase the number of qualified leads who contact you, and impress more prospects who visit your community in-person.