By Karen Adams, VP of Market Intelligence and Sarah Fleischer, Data Analytics Director
The single most frequently asked question we have received during recent months is, “How has COVID-19 affected consumer markets?”
The reason we’re getting that question so often is clear: Senior living management, boards, bankers and investors all have a vested interest in measuring near-future demand for current inventory as well as for start-up and expansion projects.
This is why it’s so critical to know how your community’s depositors and waitlisters feel about COVID-19, what it means for the future they want and how you can best retain their commitment.
Because we at Love & Company are always thinking—and know that senior living providers can’t afford to wait—we designed a new consumer research survey that can be readily applied by communities to quantify the status of these key constituent groups.
A Life Plan Community has pretested this survey, and the results are positive and informative. Our waitlist and depositor survey will provide your organization the intelligence to keep this critical segment committed.
The survey is designed for households who have already made a financial commitment to the community. It was also applied successfully to prospects (those who have had contact but have not yet made a financial commitment).
The new survey measures:
- Respondents’ likelihood of moving to your community before the pandemic and now
- Lifestyle aspects of retirement community living that have become more important to them and those that have become less important
- Respondents’ use of tools, such as communication apps, video technology, online media resources, protective equipment, etc., that allows them to continue their “normal” activities; adoption of these tools; and interest that has not yet been met
- If and how the respondents’ anticipated timeframe for moving has shifted
- Respondents’ degree of concern about four key factors in today’s environment:
- The economy and its impact on their financial resources
- A prospect’s home value
- A prospect’s ability to sell his or her home
- The continued spread of COVID-19
Our pilot survey had a 75 percent response rate from depositors and a 46 percent response rate from the waitlist, with a total of nearly 300 completed surveys. In this case, the data clearly show that the vast majority of those who have already made a deposit and are awaiting a residence remain strongly committed. Additional data from the pilot support this assertion:
- More than 20 percent would like to move to the community sooner than they did before the pandemic
- More than two-thirds of depositors have not changed their plans
- Just 12 percent of respondents may delay their move
These results offer the community good news about the status of this core group of constituents, one of its strongest revenue sources. The community now has insights on which to base communications and outreach to maintain the strength of these stakeholders and support those who have concerns. Other key findings included:
- The primary fear among depositors is not the economy nor selling their home, but rather the continued spread of COVID-19, which is something also reflected in broader consumer sentiment today.
- The campus healthcare (and knowing the source of services and their availability on-site) is more important to the core constituents than before the pandemic, which is encouraging given the current media-driven perception that nursing facilities are hotbeds for COVID-19.
- The pilot respondents are interested in increasing their use of a variety of online resources (education, travel, health, communications), providing numerous opportunities for the community in developing messaging, programming and services for now and the future.
Knowledge of these concerns, motivations and interests helps inform the kinds of outreach and activities that these key constituents will find valuable, and which tactics you can use to increase their likelihood to move to your community when the time comes to commit.
Of course, we know that depositors and waitlisters are just part of the revenue puzzle. Your team can also opt to collect invaluable intelligence from the rest of your lead base to help hone marketing messaging so it reflects what is most meaningful to the people who have not yet made a financial commitment. With this in mind, we also developed a second survey that is uniquely designed to gain a different set of insights from your lead base specifically.
To learn more about these surveys or to inquire about conducting one of these unique surveys at your community, please contact us by clicking here or calling Tim Bracken at 410-207-0013 today.