In the senior housing industry, marketing teams should know their competitors as well as their own community. Unfortunately, researching the competition often falls by the wayside.
We often hear comments such as “we don’t have any competitors”; “no one is like our community”; or “we simply don’t know”. More often than not, we’ll also hear, “we’re friends with our competitors and we share information”.
Regardless of how “friendly” you are with other communities in your area, it’s essential to know how to position your community against them.
Here are a few tips for independent, assisted living and continuing care communities:
- Competition should be shopped quarterly. The communities need to be physically toured. You want to see how your community’s first impressions compare with others. See their models. Are they showing age? Is this still a community your prospective residents would consider? You may visit the community for an event, etc., but someone needs to focus on the first impressions.
- Compare pricing. Are they using special incentives as a closing tool? Is their wait list for real?
- Apartment inventory. Try to learn what types of apartments have been selling well vs. what they have in inventory.
- Services. Have they added or revised their services? Maybe now they have a flexible dining package or move-in assistance.
- Amenities. Have amenities been added or improved since your last visit. Perhaps there’s a new putting green or they’ve redecorated the dining room. You may not uncover if you rely on a telephone call.
- Assess the customer service orientation of the staff. From the receptionist to the marketing team and maybe the executive director. Has there been turnover or is the same team in place?
- How does the marketing presentation compare to your community? Are there nicely presented model apartments and a discovery room?
- How does a sales person handle a telephone inquiry as well as a receptionist? Learn how they are selling their community.
- What does your competition say about your community? You also won’t find this from a telephone call. You may be friendly with a community but what do they say to others about you.
- Review their brochure kit, web site, etc. How are they communicating to customers? Also, learn what their process is in responding to inquiries and how long it takes for an internet response to be followed up.
This is just some of the information a competitive shop can reveal.
While certainly the major competitor is the individual’s home, there are other communities a family will consider in lieu of choosing your community.
There is always competition. Knowing about your competitors isn’t necessary adversarial but at the end of the day, we want the customer to choose our community over another. We have to understand our strengths and weaknesses to sell our strengths.
Using a third-party to handle competitive shopping is useful because they can cut to the chase in obtaining the information needed.
Call us today at 954-726-9228 to learn more about our competitive shop service.
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