Bold Event Strategies Contribute to a 10% Census Increase in Under a Year
By the last quarter of 2022, Westerwood’s occupancy had fallen to a dramatically low level, hovering in the mid-60% range. Although monthly events at the community had brought in attendees, the sales team had been unable to convert them to move-ins. Very low occupancy meant the community was losing millions of dollars in entrance fees and hundreds of thousands of dollars in monthly fees. Community leadership knew something had to be done.
To address the challenge, Westerwood engaged Love & Company to complete a “deep dive” marketing and sales assessment, coupled with the development of a comprehensive marketing plan and budget for the coming year.
One of Love & Company’s primary recommendations was to initiate a series of new events and reinvigorate the direct mail campaigns that would promote them. We suggested a different kind of event strategy—one not solely focused on senior living—to bring in more attendees while also helping portray the community as meaningfully different from other senior living options.
We used brighter, more colorful direct mailers to reflect the community’s “Our campus is your canvas” theme while also hinting at the fact that people who live at Westerwood are seeking a somewhat different style of retirement living.
Westerwood began running its new event direct mail campaign in January 2023 and experienced immediate results. First, significantly more people registered for the events than in the past, and second, an unprecedented 70-90% of those who registered went on to attend the events.
Love & Company worked hand-in hand with the Westerwood marketing team to create mailers for events throughout 2023. By the end of September—only nine months into the new program—the community had added 21 new residents, increasing its occupancy from 67% to 77%.