Written by: Eileen Moore, Special Projects Marketing Consultant, Spectrum
Methods to market retirement communities (now Life Plan Communities) continue to evolve. #lifeplancommunity The consumer desires a more transparent sharing of information about our communities. What a better way to share the information than to have residents talk about their home. They have been through the process of making the decision to move, know the benefits of living in the community, and have made the adjustments to the new lifestyle.
A great way to convey the information is with resident-centered events in the community.
Some ideas for these events include:
A Four Course Luncheon: Invite residents and four directors of the community such as the Executive Director, Health Services Director, Wellness Director, and Environmental Services Director to talk about their specific area of expertise. Utilize this updated version of a progressive dinner. Have the four experts move from table to table as each course of the luncheon is served. Each table has the opportunity learn what programs and services each department provides to the residents of the community. The casual setting allows for a great exchange of information. The prospective resident gets the answers to their questions. A current resident at the table also allows the prospective resident to confirm the answers and verify the satisfaction of the residents of the various department services/programs. The fifteen minutes per course allows enough time to answer questions without getting into the minutia. It also helps to reinforce the inter-dependency of all of the departments in providing the services to the residents.
A quick tour of a residence or two and the prospective resident has learned about the community and could be ready for a one-on-one appointment to discuss the specifics of their situation.
A Resident Panel: Invite positive and happy residents to tell their stories about becoming a resident. Give them a list of questions so they can formulate their answers before the event. Meet with the panelists and discuss the questions to determine who has the best answers to the posed questions. The moderator can direct the question to the specific resident(s). Allow audience participation to keep them engaged with the event. Have the residents sit with the prospective residents during the luncheon to keep the conversation flowing. The prospective residents love hearing from people that have gone through the process of becoming a resident.
Roundtable Discussions: Are limited to 6 or 8 prospective residents attending. A marketing counselor or two act to answer questions posed or work through a hand-out that acts as a primer for the community. What is a CCRC? What are the types of agreements available? 0%, 50%, 90%? What is included in the monthly fee? The prospective residents are encouraged to ask questions to increase their knowledge and become comfortable with the community. They also meet the other attendees and often connect well with them. The idea is to keep it fun and have everyone enjoy the learning process.
Downsizing/Organizing Events: These ever popular events focus on one objective to moving: What do I do with my STUFF? Practical advice given by a professional move manager or downsizing expert lends credibility to the process. Have several residents in the room that have used a service to help them make the move. They have successfully gone through the process and can testify it worked. Let them talk about how glad they are they moved, how they went through the process, and what they would suggest as tips for those considering making a move.