Deciding To Use Incentives Or Not In Senior Living?

Deciding To Use Incentives Or Not In Senior Living?

Incentives in Senior HousingWhat Is The Best Incentive You Have Ever Given In Senior Living?

Discounting can be the owner’s operational nightmare and the sales persons best friend.  Incentives cost the company money and affect the bottom line.  Just giving away one month of rent can cost $2000 – $6000 depending on the retirement community.  Yet, empty apartments are losing revenue month-after-month.  Should you or should you not use incentives?

I believe that incentives can permanently ruin some sales people.  Some sales people can ONLY sell apartments with incentives.  When the gravy train stops they don’t know how to just simply sell an apartment at regular price to a senior.  Seriously?!?  In my opinion, this is right up there with someone who is simply an order taker in senior living.

The benefit of incentives is bumping up the occupancy to get ahead of the move outs in a very short period of time.  Every senior living community has to look at their financials and determine what is best for them.  If you have more two-bedrooms than one-bedrooms, an incentive on two-bedrooms can create balance again in your inventory.  It is a funny thing in our industry – how every five years the surplus of a certain size apartment switches.  Right now everyone seems to want a one bedroom…

Here are some common assisted living and independent living incentives:

  • One free month
  • The fourth month free
  • No move in fee or a discount on the community fee
  • A free TV
  • A moving or downsizing allowance

Continuing Care Retirement Communities can use the same or different incentives:

  • 90 – 100% Returnable entrance fees
  • A percentage off future healthcare
  • Paying for the move completely
  • Discounting apartments that are the farthest walk from the dining room
  • A discount off the entrance fee if a prospect commits to moving in within a short period of time

Do you use incentives?  Which ones?  Which incentive in your career resulted in the biggest flurry of sales for your retirement community?  My favorite incentive of all time was a 100% returnable entrance fee at a new community that I opened.  It worked like a charm!  Within months, 70% of the building was spoken for, so we could start construction.

Please comment 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 for sale at  Masson’s book will be required reading at George Mason University in the Fall as part of the marketing curriculum.  She is currently consulting with Seniors For Living and two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California. Connection and partnership opportunities: Email:

Why is this the BEST TIME of the Year TO CALL Your Database!

Why is this the BEST TIME of the Year TO CALL Your Database!

The last couple of weeks before Christmas and New Years is a key time to call your senior living database.  When visiting family members (like boomer children) say, “Mom or Dad – let’s start exploring retirement housing options for you.”  The senior can say, well The Village or Freedom Village just called last week…  The Boomer children will say, “Great, let’s go check that community out first.”

Many sales people spend their entire precious selling time – attending resident holiday parties, enjoying carolers or other live entertainment.  This is not the time to sit back on your laurels and hope your retirement community will miraculously get fuller in 2013.

The work ethic of a senior living sales person before New Years can dictate a surge of move-ins in early 2013.  This is an opportunity to jump the census by 2 – 5 percentage points!

It’s time to smile and dial, because this is the best time of the year to call your database.  Many seniors are lonely and you may be the only phone call they receive during their entire day.  Able-bodied seniors drive or fly to see children and grandchildren for the holidays – so they may not be home.  Frailer seniors have to hope their kids will come visit them and are usually home.  Either way, the children may notice a change in their senior parent(s) and start exploring options.  Make sure your senior living community is top of mind with the senior – it only takes a simple phone call!

Call Your Database Now to Increase Occupancy for Early 2013!

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: