New Services from BAI

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Brecht Associates has added three new services that we believe can help you now to position your community in the best way possible.   Whether your campus is closed or open, we can offer these services to help you refine and augment your market and positioning strategies in ways that will assist your organization in putting its best foot forward.  We have developed three targeted analyses designed to assess your current status and enhance your ability to articulate clear goals going forward.  Each service is available individually or can be purchased in combinations.  The results of each service will be summarized.

Market Positioning Analysis

We will compare how your community is positioned based on reviewing your website, brochures and use of social media like Facebook.  Our review will consider use of language and messaging, testimonials by residents, visual images, description of the community, and financial information. This will be compared to major competitors identified by you.

Unit and Service Differentials

We will compare your community with your competition (as identified by you).  This can be particularly helpful for AL and MC services.  This will include unit types and sizes, what is included in basic services, what requires additional fee and how much those additional fees are for such services.   It will include special services, such as helping residents engage in the outside community, that may help differentiate your community. We will look at your community’s amenities and programming and compare to your major competitors. 

Changes in Market Area Draw

We will define your market area based on current resident origin data.  We will also look at information provided by you on resident origin data from 3 years ago and 5 years ago.  Based on that data we will identify your primary market area, evaluate how much you draw from that area, and then compare that with your historical data to determine whether your draw has diminished and if so, from what areas.  We will summarize the results, pointing out whether any differences have occurred and where.  This will provide you with data that can help you evaluate whether newer competitors may be taking away some of your market share. 

At this challenging time, we understand your concerns for your staff, your residents and your families. We know that comes first. Many of you are also in the midst of either planning a new community, or modifications to existing communities. Or you may be interested in learning more about how prospective residents may be thinking about their future senior housing options. Without leaving our office, we can be of help. One of our most popular services is the preliminary market study. This type of study is done without physical field work. It involves conducting telephone interviews to properly define the market area, identifying and surveying existing and planned competitive communities by phone, analyzing the demographics of the market area and calculating the potential depth of the market and whether it is sufficient to support your plans. The conclusions that we reach can help you decide whether or not to proceed with the plan or modify it if necessary. Another service we can provide is to conduct telephone interviews with lost prospects who are defined as someone who actually visited your community but didn’t move in. Because the lost prospects are guaranteed anonymity, they are much more willing to discuss what led to their decisions. Was it design, services, pricing or something else?
Let us know if we can help. I can be reached at 215-219-2216 or by email at susanb@brechtassociates.com

Don’t let Corona stop your progress. Business must go on: we can help you plan.

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Continuing Our Business

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This is obviously a challenging time for all of us, personally and professionally. I sincerely hope that you, your families and your employees and colleagues remain safe and healthy as we collectively deal with and get past this terrible virus.

For those of you that are attempting to continue conducting business, I remind you that Brecht Associates is an “office without walls”, meaning that we all work from home offices.  We can continue to run our practice by phone and the internet.  Accordingly, please know that Brecht Associates’ “virtual office” remains open, and we stand ready to serve you as always.  Those of you who have retained us for studies we are currently conducting should be reassured that we will continue to work on your projects. Please don’t hesitate to contact me by phone or email as necessary. (215-219-2216; susanb@brechtassociates.com)

Mary Wade’s Expansion Plans

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Mary Wade is one of the leading retirement communities serving the New Haven area in Connecticut. It currently offers the following:

  • Adult Day Care
  • Affordable Residential Living
  • Skilled nursing including long term care, short term rehab, hospice care, dementia care and respite care
  • Hospice and palliative care
  • Transportation services

Mary Wade’s plans included the development of a new building that will offer dedicated assisted living with a total of 84 apartments of which 20 will serve those requiring memory care.  Over the course of several years, Brecht Associates worked with the leadership of Mary Wade to evaluate and refine the plan for this expansion.  In 2019 the development was successfully financed with tax exempt bonds working with the banking firm of HJ Sims. 

Market Positioning: Conveying Your Message

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Communication is obviously a critical element in marketing seniors housing and it is accomplished through various channels. Back in the day it was advertisements in newspapers, selected periodicals and direct mail. Now it includes social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Google, LinkedIn and others. We know that prospective residents and their families want the basic information about what you offer – independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing – what it costs and the financial structure. But is that enough? In order to capture the segment of the market that will find your community most compatible with their lifestyle, its important to establish your market position. Here are some examples of market positioning statements from several existing communities serving seniors.
* Setting Standards of Excellence in Retirement Living Since 1967
* Tradition of Quality Healthcare
* Artful Living
* Together Transforming the Experience of Aging
These simple statements say a great deal about the four communities they represent. The first emphasizes the sense of continuity and reliability. The second stresses that the community is a health care provider (as opposed to one that offers a continuum of care). The third suggests that “art” in its many ways is part of the community’s identity. And, in fact, its collection of art which is displayed throughout is a feature that distinguishes it. And finally, the last suggests that aging is a dynamic process.
So going beyond the basics is a must in conveying your community’s message and identity.

A New Year – 30 Years of BAI

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We want to take this opportunity to wish all of our friends and associates a wonderful 2020. It’s been an interesting year full of varied engagements taking us from New Orleans to Connecticut and many places in between. At Brecht Associates our team has gone through some changes and we anticipate bringing on new consultants and growing the capabilities of many of our existing staff. I have enjoyed writing the blogs on a regular basis and they have ranged from an inspiring poem by an 89 year old friend of mine to a call for knowing who your competition really is. The latter was received by an organization whose Board had just agreed they needed to know more about the competition which led to a study to help them learn what they faced. Much has been written by periodicals including the Wall Street Journal on whether the “boomers” will want to move to senior housing. I’m one of those boomers and I’m not sure myself, but I think if we shift the psychology of the model to one that enhances the opportunities for older adult to continue to grow and engage in the outside community we’re headed in the right direction. Let’s make the “Activities Director” the “Director of Resident Engagement”.
We look forward to 2020 during which we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Brecht Associates, Inc. Help us celebrate that milestone.

The Competitive Landscape is always Changing

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When was the last time you updated information on your competition? Do you know what’s in the planning cycle? Knowing what your competitors are up to is so important to your own marketing and positioning efforts. Whether they are making minor changes like converting some traditional AL units to Memory Care, expanding their independent living or combining smaller units to make larger more marketable apartments or developing a satellite campus, you need to know what’s going on. Updating information on competitors can be done with telephone calls or some on-site visits and should be done routinely about every 18 months. And this update should definitely include finding out what new communities are being planned. Brecht Associates has a 30 year history of obtaining reliable and accurate competitor information for its clients. Let us help you with that.

Market Research – Due Diligence for Lenders

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More than ever, professional market research provides a sound foundation not only for planning purposes but as part of the lender’s due diligence process. While it may seem that by the time the lending decision is reached, the market research has been done, it is still an important element in the lender’s decision to finance a senior housing development. And as the developer pursues financing options, they are likely to include the market study in their presentation package. If it’s not there, needless to say, a lender experienced in seniors housing will ask for it. Aaron Rulnick, Managing Partner at HJ Sims says “An independent market study is a critical element of our due diligence process when we are considering providing financing for a senior living project.  Whether the project is a start-up or expansion, we advise that the market study should be completed in the initial planning stages to guide other critical decisions in the development and financing process.”

Is Active Adult part of the Future of Senior Living?

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senior_couple_plays_tennis.jpg

In a recent article in Senior Living News, architect David Dillard talked about active adult community development being on the upswing. Why is this happening, and what are the implications for the senior living industry? One obvious reason is the size and timing of the baby boomer generation. As boomers (and many others) no longer need the 3,500+ square foot home in which they raised their families, they are looking for the next step in their living arrangements. For many, Active Adult Communities (AACs) are the answer. They offer smaller, but well- designed residential options with all the bells and whistles that a couple are looking for in their new home. These communities frequently include such amenities as clubhouses with fitness centers, swimming pools, gathering spaces for social activities, and even kitchens where group meals can be prepared. Once primarily structured on a for-sale basis, many new AACs are available for rent, a growing market choice for older adults once they sell their homes. The growth of rental housing for seniors was the subject in the April 1 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The article, entitled “More Older Adults are Relocating to Rentals Around Philly – Sometimes Close to Where They Owned a Home” cites the flexibility and freedom being enjoyed by the couple interviewed. There is no reason why traditional senior housing providers can’t enter this segment of the market. While AAC residents are not looking for the “continuum” which implies “need” rather than “want”, the physical disconnection but organizational connection may offer the best of both worlds.

An Exciting Night at a CCRC

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I had the pleasure of attending a fantastic program at a CCRC a few weeks ago. You may recall the blog I wrote about my sister-in-law called “It’s the Best Things We’ve Ever Done”. She was referring to their move to one of the retirement communities in Pennsylvania. Well the program was called “Love is in the Air” and it included musical performances and comedy routines all presented by the residents. It should have been called “enthusiasm, talent and joy is in the air” because that’s what it felt like for the performers and audience alike. We still are burdened by the belief that it’s only “care” that’s in the air, but It’s so much more than that. My sister –in-law (about to turn 81) said “we don’t feel old around here”! And the show that we enjoyed proved that over and over again. Hats off to you, Barbara Parsons, and to all of your pals.