Question of the Month: Hurdles to Recovery

What hurdles does the industry still have to clear before we see occupancy and revenue rebound?

 

Show our resiliency

By Valerie Whitman

Vice President of Senior Living

LeadingResponse

We are a resilient industry. We need to always be sure we show that to the world.

As we saw in the last year, our industry was constantly being portrayed as a place where COVID thrived. This information shook consumer confidence and further created misperceptions of truly how safe our communities are.

Our hurdle and opportunity is to be transparent and show the world how we have remained resilient during a pandemic. There are countless stories of how providers have ensured the safety and quality of life for residents as well as their families and staff.

 

Be the best choice

By Mark Marasciullo

Chief Investment Officer

The United Group of Companies

There are no hurdles to be cleared in choice-based senior housing. During the height of the pandemic, we did not witness a drop-off in either occupancy or revenue in most of our portfolio. This is largely due to the measures taken at our properties to reduce the risk of potential exposure to the virus, and the fact that our residents do not require onsite healthcare.

We expect leasing activity to continue accelerating as the single-family sales market has a multitude of tailwinds: all-time lows in mortgage rates, a flight to the suburbs out of urban cores and the emergence of single-family rental buyers that are changing the nature of the marketplace. In short, the future is bright for choice-based seniors housing, and the sun won’t be setting on it anytime soon.

 

A simple proposal

By Jerry Frumm

Chief Investment Officer

Senior Lifestyle Corp.

For me, the question is answered in three words: Time, trust and value.

 

Rebound on the way

By Brad Goodsell

Senior Vice President

Senior Living Investment Brokerage

A common obstacle is perceived safety and visitation restrictions. Really, it’s twofold — safety, in that the facility doesn’t have COVID, and that once the resident moves in the family will be able to visit without restrictions. Once this happens, I believe we’ll see a rebound in occupancy, as people become comfortable again with moving in or having their loved one in a senior community. On a positive note, I’ve heard some great stories in the past month about an increased tour volume and deposits at certain communities.

 

Vaccine is the key

By Michael Stoller

Managing Partner, CEO

LCB Senior Living

It’s impossible to identify all the hurdles. We still don’t know what’s coming. Forecasting has never been harder.

There’s been massive change with the vaccine rollout. Referrals and inquiries are scaling up. Some communities are even exceeding pre-pandemic levels. There is pent-up demand. 

We see hope but also worry about the potential for a new wave. The largest hurdles that remain are unpredictability and human nature. The stronger and more adaptable we are as people the better we can overcome. And we will.

 

Achieve total transparency

By Margaret Wylde

CEO

ProMatura Group

What needs to be overcome is lack of transparency. You must be totally transparent with the price and details of the services residents will receive, the communities’ history with COVID-19 and vaccinations, and demonstration of precautions. 

You could lose 20 percent of your prospects by not providing this information, especially pricing, at the outset of communication. Seventy-eight percent of both prospects and family members rated pricing information difficult to impossible to obtain.

These results were obtained from a recent survey conducted for the American Seniors Housing Association. The report, “Messages That Matter,” will be available from ASHA in the near future.

 

Technology can help

By Avi Begun

Senior Vice President

Meridian Capital Group

This pandemic has caused a significant amount of uncertainty and turmoil. The good news is that we are in a much better place now than we were in March 2020. 

There are still several factors that would make a big impact in helping occupancy and revenue rebound. The most important of these factors is already underway, which is administering the COVID vaccine to all residents and staff. I believe that will be a huge catalyst to seeing occupancy climb to pre-pandemic levels.

Another factor that could instrumentally help drive both revenue and occupancy is further embracing technology for efficiency and using social media as a primary source of marketing. A fresh perspective and strong plan of action embracing these new forms of technology and new channels of communication will help attract new residents and drive occupancy and revenue back up.

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