For several weeks, the senior living industry has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, adjusting rapidly to protect the health and safety of community residents and staff. As a result, many sales and marketing tactics have been updated to support communities during this time. With new investments being made, it is critical to track key performance metrics.
During March and April, many communities have ceased onsite tours and move ins and explored new ways to engage prospective residents including virtual tours, additional home visits and waitlist strategies to track future move ins. Marketing investments have been made in new messaging and mediums in addition to or in place of most traditional tactics. Organizations have spent time and money updating websites with COVID-19 banners that link to blogs and pages that house new announcements and information. They have also invested in new content, video and marketing automation to distribute personalized and timely communications to prospective residents and family members. In instances where communities are moving in new residents, they are adapting their technology to be able to efficiently and effectively screen and track results.
With rapid change occurring within the current environment, making smart business decisions in this difficult time can feel more emotional than ever before. It is imperative to utilize data when making decisions and investments, especially as it relates to your senior living sales and marketing success.
“We have seen several surveys and opinions around the impact COVID-19 is having on senior living sales and marketing, but it is important to look at the data and what it is telling us. We all could have predicted that inquiries, tours and move ins would be negatively impacted by COVID-19, so the real questions will be how great is the impact and for how long? The ability to understand that makes this data so valuable,” Erin Hayes, Enquire Chief Revenue Officer.
In this recently released report, Enquire has aggregated actual sales and marketing data from over 2,200 senior living communities offering independent living only, independent and assisted living, assisted living, assisted living and memory care and also stand-alone memory care communities to serve as your guide. In this report, 2020 averages for specific metrics by care level, state and region as well as year-to-date metrics were compared to the same period in 2019. This data was also narrowed to the just-completed month of April and analyzed against the same data points from April 2019. The report focuses on the average inquiry, tour and move in volume month-over-month per community and compares 2019 trends to 2020. Additionally, the report looks at other key sales and marketing metrics like web forms from internet inquiries, home visits, call outs, referrals and move outs that are critical to senior living sales and marketing success.
These data points will continue to give owners, operators and the investment community insight into what a recovery will look like and how the effects on changing operations, consumer confidence and financial outlook will impact move ins, move outs and overall occupancy trends. While most communities experienced a very strong January and February when it comes to inquiries, tours and move ins, across the board, findings indicate a reduction in of these same metrics in March and April. The findings also highlight increases in metrics such as home visits and steady internet inquiry web form activity. Data shows that communities have also experienced no significant changes in move outs, and in some cases decreased move outs, in 2020. This could be the cause of extra precautions being taken at the community and are also indicative of consumer confidence remaining in the senior living industry, contrary to what many news outlets have suggested. Data also explains why most communities only saw either no or a slight decrease in occupancy in the first quarter. As these numbers track and trend over the next few months, they will provide clarity into the overall effects of the pandemic on sales and marketing metrics.
An excerpt of the aggregated data is below, and the full report can be downloaded for deeper analysis. This report will be updated monthly as Enquire closely follows developing sales and marketing trends for senior living.
April Senior Living COVID-19 Statistics:
- Although communities have experienced a 22% decrease in move ins, they have also had less move outs, averaging a 15% decrease year-to-date.
- Across all levels of care, year-to-date initial tours were down an average of 27% (total tours decreased 29%) due to most communities suspending onsite tours.
- Home visits have increased on average 39% for the month of April 2020 in comparison to April 2019.
- Communities supported by a contact center saw just over 20% more inquiries on average and held over 30% more initial tours in 2019 and are trending the same for 2020.
- The South Central region is the least affected in April by COVID-19 with nominal decreases across the board in comparison to other regions.
- Communities that have an integrated CRM and marketing automation strategy experienced 10% higher inquiries in 2019 and 16% higher inquiries year-to-date 2020 than those that do not.
- Communities offering assisted living and memory care saw over a 20% increase in inquiries, tours and move ins for January and February over the same period in 2019.
This report will be updated monthly as Enquire continues to aggregate critical data to inform senior living sales and marketing teams. Click to download all of the senior living COVID-19 statistics to understand the effects of the pandemic on sales and marketing teams through April 2020.