Derek Dunham

For the most part, sales are on the upswing again this month.  Our Sales & Marketing Roundtable participants across the country are staying busy with inquiries, events and move-ins, particularly in independent living. We’ve also discussed some great opportunities, like receiving funds through the American Rescue Plan and a new tool communities can use to drive occupancy through culture. Some not-so-high points: a lack of leads in personal care and assisted living, discomfort with asking people if they’ve been vaccinated, and unease about the Delta variant.

Here are some hits and misses in senior living for the month:

HIT: Occupancy continuing to trend upward for independent living.  One community marketer said, “Things are very positive. We’re getting more calls and move-ins.”  Another participant shared,  “We are back to pre-pandemic levels with 84% occupancy,” while a third echoed, “We’re busy across all of our communities with inquiries and tours.”

MISS: Sluggish assisted living/personal care sales. “We’re struggling a bit with personal care. We’re not getting as many referrals or leads,” said one participant.

HIT: Out-of-the-box tactics to fill assisted living/personal care. “Our personal care is still steady with referrals to our short-term rehab from hospitals. We’re also connecting with some of our home care providers that are inside of our building to encourage them to refer their clients to us,” said one participant. Another community is using respite care as an entry point.We’re focusing on using our respite care and short-term rehab as a way to introduce (people) to the community,” the participant shared. “That’s how we’re getting them in.”

MISS: Communities not being transparent about COVID rates. One resident even started a newsletter to get out the true facts. Read her story here.  

HIT: Creative sales tactics and events. “We’ve started a move-in special, which we’ve never done before,” said one participant. Another shared, “We have our first in-person event next week. The event is called ‘Cappuccinos and Crème,’ and we’re limiting the event size to only 20 attendees plus staff.” A third marketer shared, “In August, we’re doing a ‘Blues and Blueberry’ event that will feature a blues guitarist.”

MISS: Dealing with people who won’t get vaccinated. “There’s been grumbling because some people in the community haven’t been vaccinated,” said one marketer. “We can’t mandate it, and it’s their choice.”

HIT: A new tool to  boost occupancy through culture. At one roundtable, Denise Boudreau-Scott, President of Drive, spoke about the link between culture and occupancy, stating, “There is a strong connection between the culture of your community and occupancy.” Denise shared a free personal values assessment tool to help you to begin to understand the culture of your community. You can then work with your leadership to improve it, since it is proven to impact occupancy. Click here for the assessment tool or reach out to Denise directly at denise@cultureoutcomes.com  to discuss your community’s culture.

MISS: Attention from OSHA. “Everyday and clinical operations are getting back to normal, which means OSHA and other surveys are coming back,” shared one participant. “A lot of communities are not used to this, and some are getting hit hard by missteps. The clinical folks are under the gun to get back to regular operations and making sure things are not overlooked.”

HIT: Qualified applicants. “Those that are coming in have already done their research on our website and are financially qualified,” shared one participant. “They’re ready to make a decision.”

MISS: The Delta variant. “We were opening up and loosening restrictions, but now everything is tightening up a bit,” one marketer said. “There is concern about the new variant.” 

HIT: Opportunities to receive funds through the American Rescue Plan. “It is a great way to get money to help support projects that may have been put off,” says participant Seth Anthony. “There are a ton of different ways this money could be utilized, it just needs to be framed correctly and requested from the right place. It’s not like applying for federal money. Local townships are allowed to spend the money however they like and there’s not a lot of paperwork involved.” If you’re interested in learning more, click here  or contact Seth Anthony directly at SAnthony@lw-consult.com.

All in all, this month has seen more hits than misses. Sales counselors are busy, internet inquiries are flooding in and communities are filling apartments. One participant even said, “We’re full, so we’re not actively pursuing assisted living. We’re putting people on a waitlist at the moment.”

Look for our next monthly roundtable recap in your inbox. Until then, please be sure to join our weekly Sales & Marketing Roundtable on Thursdays at noon ET and 11 a.m. CT.

For login information, email DDunham@varsitybranding.com.