How does your sales and marketing activity compare to other communities? Did your 2020 results line up with industry averages? What are reasonable goals for 2021?
Every year, Enquire releases an industry benchmark report that looks at senior housing sales and marketing trends. The data, compiled from thousands of communities across the U.S. and Canada, can help providers assess their current market share, identify and evaluate areas of opportunity, and develop plans for the future.
With the pandemic, 2020 was definitely a difficult one — inquiries and conversions went down for most communities, especially in the second quarter. Fortunately, that trend started reversing in Q3, but there are some changes that happened in 2020 that we expect to stick around for the long term.
This article explores a few of the findings from our 2019-2020 benchmark report. For more insights, download the full report.
2020 vs. 2019 performance highlights
As mentioned above, inquiries and conversions declined. But, the news wasn’t all bad. Here’s a high-level view of how 2020 compared to 2019.
- Average inquiries / month: 39 — This represents a 17% decrease from 2019, which is not surprising given the pandemic.
- Inquiry to tour rate: 22% — The average appointment ratio was down 37% from 2019. Many communities were unable to welcome prospects into their communities because of lockdowns.
- Inquiry to move-in conversion: 7% — Total conversions declined 36%. This was to be expected — with fewer tours available and the general uncertainty of last year, there were considerably fewer move-ins.
- Tour to move-in conversion: 28% — Unlike the other metrics, the tour to move-in conversion rate went up in 2020! This increase of 4% likely indicates that the prospects who did visit communities were highly motivated to take action.
More web leads
One of the biggest patterns the data revealed was a significant increase in web leads in 2020, both as a percentage of total leads and as an absolute number. For example, the table below shows the average monthly inquiries for independent living communities in 2019-2020.
Average monthly inquiries: Independent living
|Inquiry source||2019||2020||% change|
|Other inquiries||17||9||↓ 47%|
|Unpaid referrals||6||5||↓ 17%|
|Web forms||13||16||↑ 23%|
As you can see, the average number of total inquiries decreased from 50 to 44, while the number of inquiries from web leads increased from 13 to 16. In terms of proportion, web leads represented 36% of the total in 2020, compared to 26% of the total in 2019.
This trend is likely to continue. People are using the internet more and more in all aspects of their lives, and searching for information about senior housing is no exception. The organizations that will succeed in the coming years will be the ones that start catering to the communication preferences of future residents today.
To learn more about the trend toward web leads and some steps your community can take to capture and nurture these leads, read our recent article “The Growing Importance of Marketing Automation in Senior Housing.”
Longer sales cycles
Another pattern that emerged was a substantial increase in the length of the sales cycle for every type of community except memory care.
|Type of community||Sales cycle length (days)|
|Independent living||147||203||↑ 38%|
|Assisted living||122||145||↑ 19%|
|Memory care||107||106||↓ 1%|
|Life plan residential||294||400||↑ 36%|
|Assisted and memory care||103||122||↑ 18%|
|Independent and assisted||156||183||↑ 17%|
At the same time, the number of sales activities per resident remained roughly consistent at around 22.
With competition increasing due to lower census, senior housing organizations may want to rethink their sales activity in light of the extended sales cycle. For example, communities can use automation tools to increase outreach and help their communities remain top-of-mind. This could be especially advantageous for life plan residential communities, whose sales cycle now averages more than a year.
These are just a few of the findings from our 2019-2020 Industry Benchmark report, but they illustrate how knowing this information can help you set goals and make plans for the future. If you would like to learn how Enquire CRM, marketing automation, and contact center solutions can help you improve your sales and marketing initiatives in 2021 and beyond, schedule a demo today.