Many of our retirement communities are 20 years old or more. They benefit from an established reputation in their market and may even have enjoyed residents of more than one family generation. But as new communities are developed, offering updated residential units and contemporary amenities, how do older communities continue to compete successfully? Knowing how your community is positioned and perceived in the market is essential to continued success in the future. There are several steps that can be taken short of completing a full market study that will provide the needed information.
Conducting surveys of competitors is essential and visiting the major competitors is part of that process. It isn’t enough to call them to gather information. In addition, carefully reviewing their brochures and websites is an important step in identifying not only what they offer but how they position themselves. Other tasks that can provide valuable information include telephone surveys with lost prospects and recent movers. Lost prospects would be defined by someone who had actually visited your community, not just called for a brochure. Lost prospects should be assured of their anonymity, allowing them to speak freely about what they liked, what they didn’t like and why they decided not to move to your community. Recent movers can tell you what other properties they considered and the reasons why they did move to your community.
This kind of feedback can inform your decisions on what needs to be done to remain competitive in your market and is extremely useful as your leadership team plans for the future.