Change is coming to senior living. It’s coming from multiple angles and affecting every aspect of the industry, from senior living providers to the companies that support them. Here are four major forces of change:
The tidal wave of demand for housing and services is here. The over-65 population is expanding, and by 2030, seniors are expected to comprise one-fifth of the U.S. population.
Today’s senior living residents – and their adult children – have different attitudes and preferences than generations before. They are demanding more varied, more personalized, and higher-quality services and amenities.
Nursing homes are becoming less popular as assisted living and other alternative models thrive. Findings from A Place for Mom suggest this is because people are becoming more informed about the care options available.
The Internet is having an immense impact on consumer behavior, including how people look for and interact with senior living providers and communities. Nearly 75% of Baby Boomers use Google to search for information about senior living.
To help senior living providers prepare for these changes and make better decisions for their communities, my company, Enquire Solutions, this year began releasing quarterly sales and marketing reports. These reports provide the senior living industry’s first ever inside look at industry benchmarks collected from real data.
Here’s what you’ll learn from Enquire Solutions’ Senior Living Industry Benchmarking Reports:
Which sales methods improve your inquiry-to-visit ratios
What marketing channels deliver the most leads
Which care levels have the biggest opportunity for referral marketing
Here we use data from our Q2 2015 report, as well as other recent studies, to explore two major trends and highlight how senior living providers can succeed in this era of increased competition and more informed, more demanding customers.
The Internet is changing how people shop for everything, including senior living communities.
Our benchmark data show that more appointments are being booked online. While the appointment ratios from referrals and other traditional sources remain relatively steady, website leads are growing. So far this year, the appointment ratio for website leads is 38%, compared to 25% in 2014.
Website leads are also resulting in more move-ins. In the first two quarters, websites and social media had an inquiry-to-move-in conversion rate of 6%, which is higher than some more traditional sources.
Inquiry-to-move-in conversions for 2015 so far:
Professional/personal referrals (12%)
Website/social media (6%)
Referral agency/online directory (5%)
For senior living providers, these stats further enforce that having a positive digital presence is a must. Communities with well-designed websites and good online reviews are more visible and more desirable to prospective residents. They are also more likely to schedule visits and convert those visits into move-ins.
While the Internet is undoubtedly changing how people learn about senior living, eventually, most people still pick up the phone.
Our data show that call-ins continue to generate many more leads and tours than other methods for all levels of care. Averaged over the past two years, call-ins account for:
62% of all tours at independent living communities
60% at assisted living communities, and
48% at memory care communities.
These data points suggest that even the best website can’t replace personal interaction. For senior living providers, this means you need to have someone available to answer the phone.
Our data highlight the tremendous results communities can achieve by using a call center. Over the past six quarters, across all care levels, communities with call centers booked an average of 47% more appointments than communities without call centers. Call center communities also experience higher-than-average close rates, presumably because their sales staff have more time and resources to devote to hosting visits and closing sales. And a recent study by Senior Living Smart found that having a call center is the key to deriving ROI from Internet leads.
Over the next several years, as demand increases and customers do even more independent research, the influence of the Internet and call centers will grow. As a senior living provider, you can get ahead of the game by optimizing your online presence and call processing system to attract new prospects and convert those prospects into residents.
Download Enquire Solutions’ Q2 2015 Sales Benchmark Report for more insights into average appointment ratios, close ratios, and marketing channel effectiveness.
Lucas Hayes is President and CEO of Enquire Solutions.
Company profile: Enquire Solutions is the fastest-growing CRM and call center solution for the senior living industry. Our vision is to improve the experience for prospects and family members via our customer service–centric products and cutting-edge analytics that provide the executive team and management with sales and marketing insights.
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