Seniors Housing Business

AUG-SEP 2015

Seniors Housing Business is the magazine that helps you navigate the evolution of the seniors housing industry.

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54 Seniors Housing Business n August-September 2015 Understanding what's important. At M&T, we know that growing and maintaining strong relationships with our customers truly matters. This is how our experienced origination, underwriting and asset management teams provide financing solutions that meet each borrower's unique needs. And our customers like the way we do business. We're proud that 75% of our new business comes from repeat borrowers. Find out how you can become one of them. Contact us at 1-800-737-2344. Based on internal customer data. All loans and all terms referenced herein are subject to receipt of a complete application, credit approval and other conditions. ©2015 M&T Realty Capital Corporation. FHA 232/223(F) LOAN $11,251,600 35 years fixed at 3.55% 192-bed skilled nursing facility Braintree, MA FHA 232/223(F) LOAN $9,143,700 30 years fixed at 3.55% 200-bed skilled nursing facility Fairfax, VA FHA 232/223(F) LOAN $8,072,200 35 years fixed at 3.08% 105-unit assisted living facility Memphis, TN FHA 232/223(F) LOAN $17,539,300 35 years fixed at 3.08% 158-bed skilled nursing facility Rockville, NY Building relationships is important. ing as challenging in its quarterly reports, the company is confdent it will see major effciencies with 976 properties under one banner. Segmenting the audience One of the tricky parts of mar- keting a seniors housing product is the wide variety of target custom- ers. Seniors may be the true "con- sumer," but adult infuencers in the decision-making process often include friends and family repre- senting a range of demographics. Marketers recommend targeting the different audiences separately, then customizing the sales mes- sage to each group. "A brand should be multifac- eted," says Love & Company's Pearre. "There should be a lot of depth to it. You don't need to bring up every point in every marketing piece that comes out, but an effec- tive brand makes sure every single piece that comes out is consistent." Bluespire took this customizabil- ity online for a client recently by encouraging visitors to the website to create their own brochures for print or email based on the specifc topics they are interested in. One of the greatest marketing challenges of the seniors housing sector is that the prospective cus- tomers and the adult infuencers have little knowledge of the prod- uct or its benefts. "They didn't wake up this morning and say, 'I can't wait to look for seniors hous- ing today,'" notes SLC's Dupor. This means that marketing materials and sales team members have a diffcult task: They must frst explain what the product is and why the audience should want it. Only then can marketers further explain why the specifc commu- nity is superior to its competitors. "You really have to create the demand," says GlynnDevins' McClure. "That is at the core of what good advertising does." Occupancy problems are almost always directly correlated to branding problems, says Blue- spire's Martino. That can be due to bad pricing perception — "I can't afford it" — or a negative brand perception — "That's where all the old people go to die." "In the case of senior living, if the brand perceptions in the market are all dinged up, you can be sure the occupancy is affected," says Martino. "It's all about reputation and expectation. Those are the key drivers to a successful senior living brand." The importance of going digital Not only are seniors becoming more knowledgeable about how to use the Internet, but younger fam- ily members also helping them. The role of the web in a seniors housing decision is constantly growing. "One of the things we're starting to see is grandchildren who are web savvy doing the upfront research for their parents, who are, in turn, trying to help their parents," says Martino. "You have to create expe- riences online for the customer to get the information they need." Online branding creates tricky issues if not handled carefully, though, warns Martino. He cites an example of a brand built on independent and active seniors, but posted pictures on Facebook of an event where the majority of resi- dents are in wheelchairs. Increas- ingly, operators are looking at reputation management, a tool that was previously rare in the industry. "We're working with a lot of clients to track brand reputa- tion online," says GlynnDevins' McClure. "Soon it will be com- monplace for seniors to post an online review like we do when we travel or visit a restaurant. We're seeing a signifcant uptick there." Additionally, Senior Lifestyle Corp. reports that 70 percent of the company's new leads come from online sources such as the com- pany website or banner ads. The Carlisle Palm Beach is a 301-unit independent living, assisted living and memory care community in Lantana, Fla., 60 miles north of Miami. Senior Lifestyle Corp. acquired the property in 2011, but rather than completely rebrand the community, it simply added "a Senior Lifestyle community" to the name and sign. The company believes this allows each community to better represent the specifc market while still clearly showing its afliation to Senior Lifestyle Corp.

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