This past week I had the privilege of attending a seminar at Tel Hai Retirement Community in southeastern Pennsylvania. One of the speakers, my favorite senior living architect, Gregg Scott from RLPS based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, delivered a presentation about attracting Boomers to your community.
As always, I was very impressed with Gregg. His speaking style is highly engaging, entertaining, and relevant. Being a Boomer himself, he has a strong insight on what they really do want.
So what do they want?
For the Boomers, it’s all about choice. They want variety in their life, ranging from contract options to dining venues. According to Scott, innovative contract options are very important to the Boomers.
They aren’t fond of the old entrance fee and monthly service fee model that locks them in to one place for the rest of their lives. Boomers want to be able to have the choice to move on if they so desire. Rental contracts provide that freedom.
My belief is that the Boomers aren’t necessarily going to jump from community to community, as they are very discerning, but just knowing they’ll have the option, and not feeling like they’re locked into one place for life, will make a community more appealing to them.
If you want to attract Baby Boomers, revamp your contract offerings.
Boomers love to eat! And they definitely do not want the same menu items day after day after boring day.
Those large dining rooms where you herd people in like cattle? They will need to be redone. Many communities today are moving away from the large open dining rooms and designing more inviting spaces that are aesthetically appealing by introducing smaller more intimate spaces separated by walls, fireplaces, or anything else that breaks the visual pattern and reduces expansiveness.
In place of large dining rooms, communities are also redesigning with the restaurant concept in mind. Smaller spaces that offer the type of food you’re hungry for. Café’s and coffee shops; upscale dining and bistros are more aligned with what residents want today.
I worked at a community where the average age of an incoming resident was 74. So I’ve been exposed to trends in residential design for quite some time.
As the Boomers approach the age of entry, the oldest being 71 today, the design of residences need to change as well. Sometimes this is not an easy task.
Combining apartments due to load bearing walls isn’t always an option. So what can you do to the interiors?
You can make them feel more spacious by bringing in more natural light. Larger windows and patio doors that bring the outside in give the illusion of the interior being bigger than it really is. Open kitchens are in high demand. And you better find a place to stash a washer and dryer because people really don’t want to go down the hall to do laundry.
One thing Gregg said that really resonated with me, and I’ve mentioned in previous posts about Selling to Seniors is “Make me feel special!” Boomers embrace their individuality and as senior living providers, you need to do the same.
Each person wants to feel as though you are listening to what they want. As marketing and sales experts, you need to create experiences that appeal to individuals and encourage your residential activity planners to do the same.
Don’t have yoga? Someone wants to be able to do yoga by the pool in the morning. Offer it. Find out what appeals to your incoming residents and find ways to encourage the individuality they bring to your community.
The Boomer generation has the most successful, well-educated, purpose-driven demographic of our country. They are not looking to retire and fade into the sunset. Their golden years are going to be filled with engagement. Engage their passions and they’ll find a home at your community.
I’ve said this before, but Boomers know what they want and they are willing to pay for it. So, especially in residential design, you need to give them what they want.
If you can attract a younger resident, who will live in the residence longer, thereby increasing occupancy and reducing turnover rates, why wouldn’t you let them customize their space? Especially if they aren’t asking for it for free.
If you don’t offer choices in the renovation package, you’re not appealing to your buyer.
Marketing to the Boomers
With a changing generation comes a major shift in the way we market communities. In order to reach them, truth in advertising is more important than ever.
Our previous blog post on Marketing to Older Adults talks about discarding stock photography to create authentic advertising with genuine imagery of community residents and spaces. Focus your marketing efforts on the creation of telling the story of the experience your residents have living in your communities.
Your marketing and sales teams need cutting edge technology. Tools that make them more effective in their roles. Analysis of information on prospective residents and their passions that can shape experiences within your community requires a robust CRM that can store the data you need to gather. Provide your team with the tools to succeed and be ready when the Boomers begin filling out contact forms on your website.
Continuum CRM has everything you need to make sales teams more effective, gather and analyze data, so you can be ready when the Boomers are. Sign up for a free live demo today.