Tips to Exceed Guest’s Expectations for Senior Living Communities

A recent stay at a hotel illustrated the changing approach hotels are taking to exceeding guests’ expectations and some of these can be applied to senior living communities.

Much of what senior living communities offer in the way of classes and entertainment are already in place for residents’ enjoyment. It’s not complicated and there’s a great opportunity in doing a better job communicating that people are invited to attend and in letting guests know these events are always complimentary. The idea that a senior living community’s doors are always open extends a warm welcome. How great for an adult daughter or granddaughter to be able to come for a yoga class instead of going to a gym.

Some take-away ideas from our hotel stay at the La Posada Resort and Spa in Santa Fe– luscious dessert s’mores are offered on Tuesday and Friday evenings at 7 p.m. We anticipated someone making them for guests but all it amounted to was setting out bowls of marshmallows, chocolate pieces, graham crackers and tongs for guests to make their own. No extra help was required except someone to replenish the bowls. The activity was only for an hour so when it was done, it was over. It was not only delicious; it brought people together and socializing.

While it may be difficult to replicate this specific guest experience, it’s a nice touch to have fresh cookies available in the Welcome Center every day. Perhaps your chef has a specialty cookie or maybe a resident has a favorite recipe that can be featured.   We found delicious cookies at The Palace Gardens in Homestead that Director of Sales Elizabeth Martinez says are very popular with visitors.

Complimentary cookies were available at a Marriott Hotel in Atlanta where I recently stayed and it was a nice welcome when you checked in along with a bowl of shiny red apples.

The LaPosada’s spa offered yoga on Sundays and Pilates on Saturdays, while the hotel’s bar offered various drink tastings most evenings. On Thursday mornings there was a memoir writing class. All were unexpected guest experiences. While we didn’t take advantage of these during our stay, I appreciated the offer.

Additionally, the hotel has an art curator and original artwork is on display and for sale by local artists.   Again, this is a special feature that easily could be adopted by a senior living community.

At senior living communities, typically you can find fitness and wellness classes, lectures, crafting, book reviews and more and everything is listed in the monthly activity calendar.   But it would be great to have either flyer available in the Welcome Center or some type of takeaway to offer prospective residents and families which spotlights some of the month’s activities to come and enjoy.

Why not open a yoga or Zumba class to prospective residents, the children and grandchildren of families or the general public?   When classes aren’t well attended, having more people participate may energize an instructor.   Book reviews are always popular and work very well as an event perfect for guests.

You’ll find many hotel lobbies offering carafes with of daily morning coffee, tea, and (seasonal) hot chocolate along with fresh fruit water and ice cold water. When we are doing our marketing assessments, we find only a few senior living communities that we visit offer residents and guests fresh fruit water in their lobbies. Yes, it takes manpower to make this available but just as the hotel is exceeding guests’ expectations, senior living communities can as well.

To learn more about the marketing assessments offered by The Ehlers Group, please call 954-726-9228 for information.

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