A recent community tour illustrates the value of marketing assessments—one of the services The Ehlers Group provides.
Our client wanted to tour new assisted living and memory care communities to see new architectural design trends, interior features as well as any innovation in the industry. Touring communities in different areas of the country offers this vantage point. We were seeking some of the newest communities to open.
Since The Ehlers Group, a full service marketing and communications company specializing in senior housing, offers competitive studies and marketing assessments, we were thrilled to research and arrange tours of communities.
In our marketing assessments, we tour a community and look at it from the customers’ vantage point. We want to see what is working or not and how a customer is treated.
Our client’s group of eight had varied backgrounds including experience in construction, interior design, marketing and development. As we toured the communities and discussed each following our visit, everyone saw different aspects within a community.
It was very helpful to have your team tour communities especially if you are planning a new community.
Certainly some design features can’t be overcome within an existing community but it’s important to understand what isn’t working well to be able to compensate.
The immediate arrival at a community is very important. Some communities looked like a dark caravan from their entry and point of arrival while others evoked a bright, gracious hospitality feeling.
The portico was a design feature that some communities did well while others failed. They need to be able to accommodate the buses and vans that residents use while leaving enough room to load and unload passengers.
Smiling, friendly efficient receptionists set the stage within the community and that’s why I called them “Directors of First impression”. Since our tours had been pre-arranged, it would have been nice if a front desk was informed about their planned visitors. This would be a nice touch for family tours if they are not walk-ins.
Only one community offered refreshments while we waited for our tour.
We saw very successful uses of flexible space as well as great room concepts. Areas were warm and comfortable and seemed liked someone’s home living room. There were tables with puzzles, huge TVs and seating groups. Comfortable seating areas were incorporated on many of the residential floors with attention paid to making these areas bright and inviting.
Also, some of the great rooms illustrated multiple uses for activities. From flat screen TVs, the pool table, a piano, the library and cocktail bar, I felt as if I was on a cruise ship or luxury lounge in a hotel. Areas such as these seemed much more effective than specially designated rooms such as library, computer room, pool room, etc. It also brought people together.
One thing that continues to be memorable is a sign posted in a community’s ice cream parlor which read ice cream $2 p/cone. Considering families are paying $4,000+ per month to have their loved one live at a community, to nickel and dime someone seems a poor marketing technique. What does this message to convey to someone? That if they are charging $2 for an ice cream cone, what else will they be changing us for when we live here.
To learn more about the marketing assessment services provided by The Ehlers Group, please call 954-726-9228.
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