10 Ideas for Operations to WOW Senior Living Sales

10 Ideas for Operations to WOW Senior Living Sales

10 Senior Living TipsHere are 10 bright ideas on how the operations team can WOW senior living prospects and help increase sales and occupancy.

  1. Does the housekeeping department touch up the entrance to the senior living community and tour path areas several times per day (particularly in the fall when leaves are everywhere)?
  2. Are the retirement community’s walls touched up by maintenance on a regular basis (as they get marked up by walkers)?
  3. Will dining services make a WOW presentation of the food and use the china instead of disposal plates and styrofoam cups?
  4. Are the receptionists willing to stand up to greet marketing guests?
  5. Does the activity director reschedule resident classes in advance, so residents are not angry with the marketing staff on the day of an event (seniors don’t like short notices)?
  6. Will the transportation department pick up senior living prospective residents who don’t drive and transport them to and from the senior living community for a tour?
  7. Are the landscaping, signage and building exterior in prime condition for first impressions?
  8. Does every department head go out of their way to introduce themselves to senior living prospective residents?
  9. Has every manager encouraged their frontline staff to smile and greet all guests and residents?
  10. Will department heads take two hours per month to help at sales and marketing events?

Please share your successes, failures or comment below to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available at Amazon.com with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Most recently Masson was recruited to consult for two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog post may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. You may share this website and or it’s content by any of the following means: 1. Using any of the share icons at the bottom of each page. 2. Providing a back-link or the URL of the content you wish to disseminate. 3. You may quote extracts from the website with attribution to Diane Masson CASP and link http://www.marketing2seniors.net For any other mode of sharing, please contact the author Diane Masson.


  1. Just doing simple things that indicate that the place is well run goes a long way. Two of my bench marks are clean bathrooms and dining room utensils and china ware should be in good condition and clean. Toss out bent silverware and chipped plates and cups.

    I once attended a lecture by Tom Peters author of ‘The Peter Principle’ who talked about simple things once of which was the most profitable ball park in the country. It was in the southwest, minor league team, but it make the most money. When patrons were asked why they kept coming back and spending money on food and drinks. They replied because the bathrooms were kept clean and neat, therefore the food outlets had to be serving good food and the operations were supervised, meaning management was paying attention.

    • Allan, what great examples of simple that makes such a difference to our senior guests and residents!

  2. Linked In The Elder Care Network

    Solid comments, Diane. Successful communities, with a multidisciplinary “Everybody markets!” approach do these now. This presumes, as well, that the ED and ownership support the nominal time, effort, resources and systems to accomplish these actions on a daily and, yes, that means 7 Days a Week! I personally believe that leadership includes a mindset of “fresh eyes each day,” by the ED and others, to see what a potential resident might see, i.e., picking up the litter, no cigarette butts left by the night shift outside the front door, seasonal flowers in the urns outside and a neat, orderly attractive “first impression” area inside the front door and at the front desk, et al. Thanks again for the great reminders!
    By Michael Coler

    • Yes, Michael! You are 100% right. In order for sales to be successful, the ED and ownership need to be supportive! Great examples of simple – low to no cost first impressions.

  3. Linked In Link·age Marketing Senior Living

    Diane offers some excellent suggestions in her post. I have used a number of these suggestions in the past and I have seen higher resident satisfaction scores and better engagement and respsonses from prospects on tours.
    By Steve Wittman

  4. As a new CCRC Administrator, Diane’s recommendations, suggestions, and experience-based advice is invaluable for me. I’ve purchased the book (Senior Housing Marketing…) and have subscribed to her blog. Keep it coming!

    • Thanks Jim! I appreciate your comment! Congrats on your new position! It is always interesting to write your current occupancy in the cover of the book and watch it increase over the next year!

  5. Linked In Healthcare Marketing

    Great article, used all of them except the activities piece. I do require department heads to assist with marketing – but in some cases that has been a challenge. Anyone out there have great ideas for getting the team more comfortable and on board?
    By Cassandra Dority, MSHS, LNHA

    • Yesterday, one of my administrators reminded all the department heads to have a marketing goal for the month.

  6. Linked In Assisted Living Professionals

    I have to say I totally agree that is what we do at our community great tips for those who don’t!
    By Mary Henley

    • I bet your occupancy is in great shape too!

      • Linked In Assisted Living Professionals

        You are correct l love your insight!! Thank you
        By Mary Henley

  7. Well said Diane! This is a huge industry and can only become more competitive. We shouldn’t forget, if we don’t do the things you suggest in this article… our competitors will.

  8. Well said Diane! This is a huge industry and can only become more competitive. We shouldn’t forget, if we don’t do the things you suggest in this article… our competitors will.

  9. Linked In Assisted Living Professionals

    When I took tours of facilities for my parents , I saw an amazing array of different amenities. What I found lacking were rooms for care. The WOW for baby boomers will be the ability to get on site care in a setting resembling that found in a professional’s office. The occurrence of care by visiting providers is on the upswing. Facilities embracing this trend will create a huge market advantage. Give the visiting providers of care the same status as the beautician, give them a designated room.
    By Dr. Stuart Boekeloo

    • Dr. Stuart, I have heard this same theme from other doctors. The challenge as we go forward is how to incorporate a professional office in existing communities. Offices should be absolutely built into new communities.

  10. Diane, my dear—

    You have presented some excellent points. Please permit me to comment.

    I was a chaplain in a retirement community for several years. As such I was on the executive board and we had to deal with every aspect of home operations. The hints you list are excellent. Here are a few more we found valid.

    1. When someone had an appointment to view the buildings [we had 7] and grounds [10 acres], the moment the potential applicant arrived, the hostess dropped everything immediately and began the tour. Waiting time—0 minutes.

    2. The “chow line” was replaced with servers who took orders at the table and served the residents. [This actually cut down on expenses because the elderly often dropped or spilled food, broke dishes and glasses, etc.] The cost was not only replacement of food and dishware, but personnel needed for the cleaning up. Applicants were exceedingly pleased when they visited dining facilities.

    3. Recognition of the level of independence of the residents. The first thing I requested [and got] when I began as chaplain was a computer lab with scheduled assistants to help residents learn the use of the computers. The lab assistants were not allowed to do the work for the residents. If they could not learn to use the computers the were required to move on to an activity in which they could succeed. Hence, we had to increase the number of computers from 2 to 12. Our oldest computer user scheduled use to contact children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren every day. He was exactly 100 years old.

    3. The reason workers—from department heads to lawn mowers and dishwashers— were employed was to serve the residents. That was recognized by signage and practice.

    4. There was an open forum every week at which the executive board attended and any resident could make suggestions. When there were complaints the complainer was required to suggest viable solutions. Several improvements came from these meetings.

    5. Once a month there was an open forum for employees. They were permitted to report on any improvements including in terms of treatment with guarantees that complaints would not result in retribution.

    6. The residents produced their own uncensored publication each month. No individual attacks were permitted and language and content had to be decent. Residents edited and produced the publication funded by an apportionment from the community administration.

    7. The South Florida area had many Cuban and South and Central American immigrants. Language use was a problem, but employees were not permitted to address residents in a language the resident did not understand. Nor were employees permitted to carry on conversations in a language not understood by a lone resident. All employees were required to be bi-lingual.

    8. There was a zero tolerance for drug use, abuse—verbal or physical—of residents, and theft [even petty theft].

    That was over 10 years ago, but I suspect many of these practices would be beneficial today.

    Incidentally, my Henri Derringer Mystery Series of novels are set in this same retirement community with a very realistic vigorous 92-year-old wheelchair bound protagonist who is the sleuth.

    I love you,.

    Larry Winebrenner

    • Larry,

      Great tips on senior housing that are still beneficial today. Thanks for sharing!