What a year! Right? The senior living industry was slammed with Covid-19 and so much that came with the deadly virus. Our Senior Vice President of Strategic Communications, Valissa Smith spoke with several of SeniorVu’s client communities to find out what less obvious challenges came with all things 2020, what lessons communities learned and what they are anticipating and tweaking for 2021.
In this episode of Off Your Rocker: A SeniorVu Podcast, SeniorVu’s CEO Tim Donnelly turned the tables on the frequent host of Off Your Rocker to find out what Valissa discovered in those community conversations. Some of the information revealed is eye opening!
CHALLENGES and LESSONS
With no playbook, no guidelines other than infectious disease protocol, communities were scrambling to put safety measures in place to prevent at their communities what early media reports were saying about multiple cases in a Seattle Nursing Home. The public was empathetic, but it also rattled consumer confidence.
A decline in occupancy followed. With fewer families turning to senior living for their loved ones, there was less for sales and marketing to do. Many salespeople lost their jobs. However, a few communities discovered a service to fill the gap and continue marketing to prospects. In fact, one company filled their occupancy gap in the second half of the year with only one salesperson for all 12 communities. At 6:14 into the conversation, find out how they did it.
Many communities slowed their marketing efforts. However, in hindsight they all wished they hadn’t. While assisted living numbers dropped, memory care needs rose. They found new ways to marketing through online virtual events, video conferencing and social media. They event came up with creative ideas to bring the community to the doorsteps of their prospects.
Staffing continued to be a challenge even with fewer residents. As businesses outside senior living were closing down, senior living saw applicants from other industries coming. One company is now in an Applicant Tracking System pilot program. Listen at 9:05 to find out what they’re doing and how it is working.
Connecting and communicating with families was never more difficult than with the new protocol in place. With visiting at a standstill, communities were forced to get more tech savvy. Some adopted a new 24/7 crisis phone hotline and set up text messaging for families. At 17:58 find out how some communities were keeping a pulse of the needs of their prospects!
ANTICIPATION for 2021
As the Covid-19 vaccine is currently rolled out to senior living communities across the country, it brings optimism and hope to the industry. It also brings a renewed commitment to stay vigilante to masks and social distancing.
After the challenges and lessons learned, communities are considering a shift in their value proposition. At 19:48, learn what some communities plan to make as their new top selling point. There will be no pulling back on marketing efforts in 2021 including elevated professional virtual events to set their community apart from others.
SeniorVu forges forward in 2021 with a roadmap of exciting new initiatives too! Hear what CEO Tim Donnelly is most excited to share with client communities in the coming year.