The Occupancy is NOT my Fault! It’s the Economy!

The Occupancy is NOT my Fault!  It’s the Economy!

Have you heard this from your sales and marketing teams?  Is this what the executive director of your senior living community is saying?  Are you buying the popcorn?  Come on…wake up…seniors are moving into retirement communities everyday.  If it is not yours, it’s into your competition.

Is your senior living occupancy below 90%? The first thing to look at is the attitude of your team.  Do they believe they can do it?  Are they truly doing everything they can to fill the building?  Are you having exciting events to draw in new faces?  When guests arrive at your building are they treated like a precious jewel worth thousands of dollars?  They should be – one move-in could be worth $36,000 per year to your bottom line.  Does the receptionist jump up to great them?  Is your phone answered with clarity and enthusiasm?

Are the sales people selling the real estate or the emotion?  If your team is only selling the real estate (floor plans and apartments), people would just rather stay in their own home.   Senior living communities are about a vibrant lifestyle – do your offer one or is it just bingo?  Seniors want the security you offer instead of being isolated in their own home.  One of a senior’s biggest fears is having a bad fall, not being able to call for help and end up – stuck – lying on the floor for several days.   Are you sharing life-long-learning opportunities and the connectivity with like-minded seniors at your community?  Do you offer them?  How about sharing the peace of mind (in some CCRC’s) – just knowing that if something did happen to a resident’s finances they could have a guarantee of care for the rest of their lives?

The biggest tell tail sign of low occupancy is a low amount of call-outs after a tour.   It seems so obvious, to give a quick call to the previous day’s tours.  Just find out what they liked best the previous day, answer any more questions and always share something NEW that you failed to mention yesterday.  Consistent follow-up phone calls is the key! ALL seniors say they are not ready!  It means they don’t have enough information YET and they can’t picture themselves living there.  Keep inviting them back to exciting events! You don’t need every senior in your city to picture themselves at your community…only enough to have 100% occupancy.

My book, “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” teaches 12 keys to kick-start your sales and marketing program in the right direction.  Good luck and start watching your occupancy increase!

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at  If your curiosity is piqued to inquire on Diane’s availability to speak at a senior housing conference (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care) – please call: 206-853-6655 or email  Diane is currently consulting in Southern California for Freedom Management Company, the proud debt-free owners of Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  For more information: Twitter: @market2seniors Web: Blog:

The illustration has a copyright of 2011 by Diane Twohy Masson.  The illustration may not be reproduced – mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying or scanning – without the written permission of the copyright holder. Requests for permission can be submitted to Marketing 2 Seniors.