Greystone’s marketing team is working in markets around the country, supporting sponsors as they build relationships with prospective residents and strive to reach or maintain stabilized occupancy.
In 2015, Greystone helped these sponsors make significant gains in filling independent living units, as well as other levels of care. Here’s a rundown of some of the communities Greystone works with and strategies and tactics that led to progress at each:
The Amsterdam at Harborside
Port Washington, N.Y.
Sponsor: Amsterdam Nursing Home
Total IL Units: 229
Dec. 2014: 197 filled (86%)
Dec. 2015: 217 filled (95%)
Greystone has served as marketing consultant to The Amsterdam since it was first planned and financed. In 2015, the community’s marketing team made the push past 95 percent occupancy in independent living thanks to a focus on the following:
- Team Development: Greystone provided The Amsterdam’s marketing team with financial training so that sales counselors could speak more fluently about the many benefits of the community’s contracts. A series of Greystone’s marketing regionals also visited the community to bring fresh voices, different perspectives and new ideas to the on-site team.
- Resident Involvement: The Amsterdam’s residents wanted to be more involved in the marketing of the community, and they offered a number of ideas for boosting sales. Their input was incorporated into marketing, and their involvement also created an excitement and energy that translated into increased referrals. The resident marketing committee continues to meet monthly and actively participate in all marketing activities, including events, testimonials and advertisements.
- Improved Culture: In 2015, The Amsterdam’s marketing team focused on positivity and setting short-term, attainable goals to build momentum. It sounds simple, but creating the right team culture helped propel the community beyond 95 percent independent living occupancy.
The marketing success of 2015 has allowed The Amsterdam to consider a second phase.
The Barrington of Carmel
Sponsor: Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation
Total IL Units: 134
Dec. 2014: 102 filled (76%)
Dec. 2015: 122 filled (91%)
The Barrington is the first out-of-Texas venture by Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation (SQLC), a long-time Greystone client. The Barrington enjoyed fast success that project team members expected to continue building. But, as sales reached a plateau in 2014, the marketing team focused in 2015 on breaking through and reaching 90 percent independent living occupancy. It was able to achieve that goal through an emphasis on:
- Simplifying: In some ways, The Barrington was a victim of its own success. A wave of leads and inbound calls made it difficult for marketing team members to develop the relationships that are so important to securing sales. Once the issue was identified, strides were made to simplify the processes and refocus on relationships.
- Prioritizing: Simplification meant making tough decisions. SQLC had made the investment in a series of lead-generating events that featured celebrity speakers. The last of these events was cancelled in favor of developing existing leads.
- Capitalizing: The same community benefits that led to early success at The Barrington existed throughout 2015 just as they had in the blue-sky phase. The marketing team refocused on selling those benefits and the sales followed close behind.
The Barrington has never missed a covenant, and its 2015 push to 90 percent independent living occupancy makes it another SQLC success story — this time out of state.
Miralea Phase II
Sponsor: Masonic Homes of Kentucky
Total IL Units: 30
July 2015: 24 filled (80%)
August 2015: 27 filled (90%)
Miralea’s first phase reached stabilized occupancy in June 2013, less than a year after opening. This success paved the way for a second phase, which adds 30 independent living apartments to the existing 90 apartments and 12 cottages. As with the first phase, these additional units met with a warm welcome from the market thanks to the following:
- Strong Reputation: Masonic Homes of Kentucky enjoys an incredibly positive brand image in the Louisville market. Seniors know the campus, and they’re familiar with Miralea — the only Life Care community in the Louisville area. This strong reputation helped set up the marketing team for success.
- Collaboration: The management team at Masonic Homes of Kentucky is ambitious and strategic. Led by President and CEO Gary Marsh, this management team has a vision for where it wants to go and how to get there, which means it is ready and willing to equip marketing team members with the tools and resources needed for success.
- Momentum: The waiting list that developed after the completion of Miralea Phase I helped feed the success of Miralea Phase II. Masonic Homes of Kentucky is intent on maintaining this momentum to protect its market share.
This small Phase II expansion of Miralea makes way for a third phase, which is currently planned as a separate community on the Masonic Homes of Kentucky Campus. Called The Meadow, this new community will include 122 independent living and 40 assisted living apartments. Its Priority Program secured 280 members by the end of 2015.
The Woodlands at Furman
Sponsor: Upstate Senior Living
Total IL Units: 132
Dec. 2014: 114 filled (86%)
Dec. 2015: 121 filled (92%)
The Woodlands at Furman enjoys a prime location, tucked at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains and just moments away from downtown Greenville and Furman University. As part of a concerted push to stabilized occupancy, the community’s marketing team focused on the following:
- Urgency: The marketing team offered what they called a “Summer of Opportunity.” The Woodlands offered incentives to prospects who were ready and willing to move in within 30 days.
- Pricing: The team also created premium pricing on units coming available that had proven most desirable. Premium pricing on premium units created a discount effect on the units with longer shelf lives.
- Goals: Throughout the summer, 90 percent remained the goal. Reaching 90 percent in independent living would mean stabilized occupancy. This goal proved effective in part because it followed the SMART goal format: specific, measureable, achievable, results-focused and time-bound.
The Woodlands reached 90 percent occupancy on Sept. 30, at the end of the Summer of Opportunity. The marketing team didn’t stop there, pushing to 92 percent by the end of the year.
Sponsor: The William K. Warren Foundation
Total IL Units: 328
Dec. 2014: 290 filled (89%)
Dec. 2015: 294 filled (90%)
In the competitive Tulsa market, Montereau offers a campus, programs and services that seniors find attractive. In 2015, the goal was to capitalize on these offerings to move past (and remain beyond) 90 percent occupancy. To accomplish this goal, the community’s marketing team employed the following:
- Lead Scoring: Leading scoring is a method of prioritizing prospective residents to focus on those most likely to choose a community. Montereau’s marketing team used lead scoring in 2015 to focus time, energy and resources on building relationships with its best leads.
- Sales Training: Greystone facilitated in-depth training for Montereau’s sales team, including sessions on advanced skills like discovery, behavioral styles and effective listening.
- Wellness: Montereau places an emphasis on the eight pillars of wellness and vitality. The marketing team partnered with health services to make on-campus wellness opportunities part of the sales pitch.
Montereau also established a premiere waitlist as the community surpassed 90 percent in independent living. Members of the premiere waitlist make a 10 percent deposit in exchange for twice-monthly meals, access to the health and wellness centers, as well as special invitations to events. The premiere waitlist gives the market a reason to investigate Montereau, which will help drive sales even after having reached stabilization.
Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America
Total IL Units: 90
Dec. 2014 Filled: NA
Dec. 2015 Filled: 45
The Westerly is the independent living portion of a significant repositioning project at Wichita Presbyterian Manor. In 2015, the community’s marketing team faced the challenge of refreshing an established brand and introducing a new contract type with a healthcare benefit — a first in the area. They focused on the following:
- Education: Working with Greystone and GlynnDevins, the community executed on a communications plan that targeted prospective customers as well as existing residents — those who would be temporarily displaced during the project. Within 12 months, Wichita Presbyterian Manor had reached the 75 percent in presales needed to trigger The Westerly’s financing.
- Pricing: Sales continued as construction began. Second-story apartments in the three-level community lagged slightly, and so the project team developed pricing that quickly moved second-floor units and left only the more desirable first- and third-level apartments.
- Combating Cancellations: Any in-development community is required to send 60-day letters to let depositors know completion is imminent. In Wichita, the project team brainstormed ways to avoid the cancellations that are so common when 60-day letters are mailed. The final plan was taking a leap of faith by celebrating the milestone of opening the building. The marketing team held a celebration, personally delivered the 60-day letters, and congratulated the depositors on the great decision they had made.
The Westerly opened on Dec. 2, 2015, and the community reached 50 percent occupancy in just 29 days — quite a feat considering the time of year. The positive market response and lack of cancellations have positioned The Westerly to fill well ahead of schedule. As of February 2016, the community was 70 percent full — just two-and-a-half months after opening.
The Terraces of Boise
American Baptist Homes of the West
Total IL Units: 161
Sept. 2015: 55 filled (34%)
Dec. 2015: 83 filled (52%)
The Terraces of Boise went through a phased opening in 2015. The first phase opened on July 27, 2015, with 80 units, the second phase opened in October 2015 with 30 units, and the final phase opened in January 2016 with 51 units. This created a unique marketing environment in which the sales team used the following strategies and tactics:
- Express Move-Ins: Depositors who selected an apartment in the second or third phase were given the opportunity to move into a first-phase apartment temporarily until their permanent apartment was ready. This express move-in program helped accelerate early occupancy and develop momentum.
- Experience: Community management goes all-out for move-ins. New residents get a red bow on their doors, a welcome basket, lunch, a thorough walk through and efficient close. The move-in experience feels like a special celebration, and it sets the tone for an exceptional resident experience that leads to referrals and reduced attrition.
- Persistence: The marketing team worked urgently to push occupancy before the end of the year. They used urgency tools and depositor incentives to accelerate move-ins. In the end, the hard work and creative tools paid off as The Terraces reached 51.5 percent with 83 occupied by the end of the year.
Throughout the development and opening processes, the marketing and management teams have worked in complementary fashion to make The Terraces a place where Boise seniors want to be. Those collaborative efforts are paying off and poising the community for continued success in 2016.
The Buckingham Phase II
Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation
Total IL Units: 106
Sept. 2015: 75 sold (71%)
Dec. 2015: 78 sold (74%)
The Buckingham is an SQLC-sponsored campus, a continuing care retirement community in the heart of Houston that enjoys a strong brand reputation and a lengthy waitlist. As the community prepared for a second phase that would include 106 independent living units, the marketing team took advantage of the following:
- Competitive Advantage: The Buckingham enjoys a stellar reputation in the market, as evidenced by a waitlist of 20 to 30 prospective residents it’s kept for seven-plus years. This reputation, plus the community’s status as the only Life Care product in the immediate area, formed a competitive advantage that helped the marketing team clearly articulate The Buckingham’s value.
- Intimate Events: Rather than large, seminar-style events, the marketing team held more personal dinners that included 20 to 25 prospective residents at a time. These smaller events were perfect for building on the existing waitlist and gathering momentum for The Buckingham’s second phase.
- Technology: The community used an iPad application that allowed residents to take virtual tours of the yet-to-be-built apartments and get an in-depth idea of what their unit at The Buckingham’s second phase would look and feel like. This app proved much more effective at demonstrating the openness and spaciousness of these units than a traditional model would have.
The Buckingham’s successful second phase will expand its market share and set the community on a path for continued success.