This picture is worth a thousand words. What is the state of your available apartments? On a recent trip to Oregon, the best place in town had this in the tub. I wanted to throw up. Really? Yet, I have seen this and worse when mystery shopping senior living communities.
Your maintenance team is overworked and they don’t have time to do apartment renovations. So many senior residents are moving out…maintenance can’t keep up. So senior living sales people have to show apartments that are not clean or renovated. Is this fine at your retirement community? Non-renovated apartments have sold that way before, right?
Wrong?!!! This is a poor long-term strategy and bad first impression to fill the building and increase occupancy. Don’t listen to the maintenance team blues! Here are four quick solutions if your retirement community is in this boat…
- Only show model apartments period. Never ever show a disgusting apartment that someone just moved out of. It is not available to show ever!!!!
- If you don’t have model apartments, make arrangements with a few residents to show their apartments. It’s always nice to have one or two residents who say you may show their apartment anytime.
- Have housekeeping clean up the disgusting apartment now, before it is shown to single a person. (I know this is double work for housekeeping, cleaning it before and after renovation. The extra clean does help sell apartments and improves first impressions.)
- The fourth choice is to pay an outside company to renovate apartments at your senior living community. I know it costs more money than doing it in-house. Please look at it in a new way…every month that an apartment remains empty, the senior living organization loses $2,000 to $6,000 in a monthly fee.
Please give sales and marketing the tools they need to create great first impressions and sell it now. Showing models works great for a senior just looking or thinking two or three months out. If you want those 48-hour move-ins or two-week move-ins, then clean up the apartments that need to be sold now.
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. Currently, Masson is setting move-in records as the regional marketing director of 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.