Question of the Month: Hospitality vs. Healthcare

Should assisted living be marketed primarily as a hospitality model or a healthcare model and why?

By Meredith Mills

Chief Operating Officer

Country Meadows Retirement Communities

I have always argued that anyone who is still asking himself or herself this question is already behind in the game. The changes in the Medicare payment structure that have occurred over the last five years have continued to push acuity into our communities. If you haven’t already invested in your clinical structure, do so. We are a part of the healthcare system, and healthcare crises like the COVID-19 pandemic will provide further proof. We have a moral obligation to provide support to the larger healthcare network and older adults in need.

In terms of how I believe it should be marketed, that depends on who you are marketing to — prospects or referral sources. Most prospects are going to assume you have the clinical support, so you should focus on the hospitality benefits. But physicians and other referral groups, who are influential with our prospective residents, understand the clinical benefits of our setting. Data is the new donut for them, and you have to be ready to provide the quality outcome numbers that show you have a strong clinical program at your communities.