As we get settled into 2021, we’re reviewing some of the ways the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the senior living industry in the last year. The industry has been forced to make adaptations, many of which involve more robust digital marketing initiatives.
But what are some of the other ways in which the pandemic has reshaped how senior living communities operate? How will these changes affect how we tackle marketing and advertising from here on out? In this post, I’ll be sharing 4 ways Covid-19 has transformed the senior living industry and what that means for providers as they continue to work toward their business goals.
1. Safety Sells, Especial When it Comes to Covid-19
Marketing in the Covid-19 era has reiterated that digital is king. But how do you shift content to speak directly to what matters most to prospects now, and moving forward? One major shift is seen in the way communities are advertising to prospects. For now, at least, luxury as a selling point is taking a back seat to safety and prevention.
According to this article from Senior Housing News, Covid has shifted the value proposition in senior living. While the focus for senior living is still on high quality homes; health care; and lifestyle choices, marketing for senior living going forward is expected to highlight resources for preventative health and safety first, and lifestyle and luxury second.
We recommended this approach for our clients in the early days of the pandemic and we’ve seen other communities adjust to this approach as well. As such, we’ve helped our clients maintain a pipeline of new leads with messaging related to the benefits of moving to a community and why lifecare is among the best investments they can make in the current market.
2. Family Time and Health Care Go Virtual
As senior living sales and marketing continues to adopt a digital-first approach, there’s an increased initiative to ensure residents, staff and family have easy access to wi-fi. This is understandable, especially considering how important a role video calling apps have played in keeping families connected through the last year.
As the positioning around senior living has transitioned to speak more to peace of mind related to health care and safety measures against the virus, there’s been an increase in the amount of doctors, nurses and pharmacies connecting with residents virtually. According to a new Senior Housing News survey conducted in the summer of 2020, 87% of industry respondents expect their organizations to increase their tech budgets in 2021.
3.Transformation Begins With Transparency
There are few industries that were affected by the pandemic in the way the senior living industry was. With Covid-19 affecting seniors — especially those with pre-existing conditions — in large numbers, critics publicly blasted the industry for “failing” seniors. Combine the vulnerability of higher care level residents with the communality of independent living and it’s easy to understand why there may have been questions regarding the potential for outbreaks at senior living communities.
Those who work in these communities see all the health and safety measures in action, but the general public does not. According to The Dallas Morning News, not only is transparency key, it can also make or break your community at this point. As people are researching and planning for the future, whether for themselves or their loved ones, there will be more questions surrounding health care, preventative health resources, vaccines, social distancing and so much more. As senior living professionals, it’s important to lean into and address these concerns rather than challenge them.
4. Increased Investment in Growth
The senior living industry is in a recovery phase. Communities are focusing their efforts on growth and using lessons learned from this virus as a roadmap to a safer, healthier future.
In an article published by Senior Housing News, industry leaders from all over the country weighed in on the likely permanent changes that have resulted from Covid-19 and how they will shape their businesses going forward. A recurring point is that companies have seen the importance of growing with technology instead of simply adjusting to it.
Communities are committed to hiring more tech-driven leaders to ensure residents, patients and staff have the support and knowledge they need in the event of another crisis. Community leaders are also united in their commitment to learn from the past and invest resources in their employees’ wellbeing as well as construction that maximizes each person’s comfort and requires minimal adaptation should a time come where communities must social distance in the future.
We predict the internal changes providers are making are likely to restore external value and faith in the senior living industry. With more properties committing to investing funds into employee development and wellness, as well as new construction plans allowing for safe social distancing, companies are more confident than ever that investors and operators can continue to offer products that will attract new customers for years to come.