Over the last month I’ve spoken with potential clients whose communities are experiencing low census and are not meeting budget expectations. This is not an isolated experience based on community size or level of care. Rather, it is a common scenario affecting senior service and healthcare providers alike. According to the National Investment Center for senior housing, the average occupancy rate for senior housing in the fourth quarter of 2018 was 88%. This is an increase of only .01% from the prior quarter with rent growth realizing the same increase of .01%.

In today’s competitive market, what can senior living organizations do to increase occupancy rates or patient census? Although it’s common practice among many senior living organizations to offer price reductions and incentives in the short term to garner interest and secure move-ins, it is not a sustainable long-term solution. So, what is a senior living executive or marketer to do? The answer lies in the use of data.

Senior living marketers can combat their occupancy woes by utilizing quality data. For example, if proper discovery is performed by a sales manager or marketing director, then the information provided in the CRM can prove fruitful in advancing the sales process. Likewise, if a community’s consumer personas are correctly determined, direct mail campaigns will perform effectively yielding a high ROI.

To understand what course of action should be taken, there are many questions marketing leaders can consider. Among them are:

  • Do I know my marketing team’s inquiry to tour conversion rates?
  • What are the closure rates of my sales team month over month?
  • How many mismanaged calls result in lost sales each month?
  • What are the results of my media campaigns compared to pre-established goals?
  • What are our KPIs and how are we presently performing against these measures?

Marketers must continually ask these questions and many more to be successful. Data matters and analyzing data before campaigns are implemented, training is provided, or money is spent on additional marketing is vital to a community’s long-term success.

Whether it is utilizing the data in your CRM to aid in follow up calls or creating targeted campaigns to increase sales, remember why data matters and that data is key to advancing sales. Utilizing data properly can lead to higher tour and move in rates, wait list growth and sustainable occupancy without the continual need to discount rates.