The team at Seniorly shares the top insights for the senior living industry in this readout from our 2023 Seniorly Local Advisor survey.
Seniorly has released the 2023 On the Move study, a comprehensive national study of independent and franchisee senior living placement agents. And while both data and disposition are generally positive, Senior Living Advisors report some serious barriers to growth that senior living providers should pay attention to.
It’s no surprise that Senior Living Advisors see continued growth in their business; a full 90% report that 2022 business was the same or better than the year before. And with the growth in both older adult populations and total senior living capacity, we shouldn’t be surprised.
But the big news of this year’s survey is that while business is up, there is even more potential for growth. Our advisors shared that there are still significant operational barriers to placement. Solve those challenges, and the trajectory of growth changes significantly for providers and advisors alike.
Barrier #1: Scheduling community tours
70% of our advisor network cited ability to confirm community tours as their number one barrier to growing their business. As one advisor noted “the demand is there - more than ever before. And maybe it’s because of delays driven by COVID, but I am finding that families want more turnkey solutions. They expect to be able to schedule - and tour - facilities on the same day. Our industry is woefully behind the times in this respect - we need to be able to support our clients when, where, and how they want to manage their journey”.
Our industry is woefully behind the times in this respect - we need to be able to support our clients when, where, and how they want to manage their journey
Barrier #2: Access to pricing & availability
A full 65% of Senior Living Advisors report that gaining access to reliable pricing & availability for their clients is a barrier to growth. Said one advisor “I spend almost a full day each week trying to track down open space and updated pricing for clients. That’s time I could be spending with families, touring actual communities”. Yet some advisors have figured out how to make this work through partnership with communities: “With some communities I’m able to get weekly updates from the sales team - not surprisingly, those tend to be the ones that get more tours.”
Barrier #3: Sales partnership
And while some barriers were expected, there was one that surprised the Seniorly team. Just over 60% of respondents felt that they have lost placements in the “right” community based on a community’s ability to sell their programs. Citing an occasionally spotty understanding of the competitive landscape and a struggle to explain value propositions clearly, one advisor noted “I got the client into a great community - that wasn’t the issue. The issue for me was that there was actually a better option for them - but that value wasn’t demonstrated to the family during the tour”.
Barrier #4: Aging in place trends
Almost 45% of local advisors are also working with in-home care solutions. And for many families, when the decision journey becomes overly complicated or lengthy, it can push them to reconsider in-home support. With the advent of a la carte options and developments in supportive technology, it can become even easier to defer a decision. Said one advisor “I actually had a client who was ready to move - and it would have been the right decision for her. But she had a couple of tour experiences that weren’t so great, and in the end she decided to stay in place for a few more years. That one was a shame because I think she would have been happier in a more engaging environment”.
Barrier # 5: On-time payment
25% of advisors report struggling with local communities as one of their top challenges. Delayed payments and lack of access to accounts payable teams take valuable time away from a “boots on the ground” approach to meeting and touring with families.
As the advisor model continues to flourish in such a prolific market, there remain plenty of solvable challenges for those of us in the senior living industry. As demand grows and consumer preferences evolve - from “DIY” self-searchers to those who need the guidance of senior living advisors, we must be prepare together to support older adults in the way that reflects their search preference.
Stephen has been a digital marketing, sales, and operations leader. A strategist at heart, he has built high performing solutions for brands large and small across challenging industries such as Insurance, Travel, and Personal Finance. As Seniorly's Chief Strategy Officer, Stephen draws on this experience to help families and senior living communities connect with the best possible outcomes. Originally from the north east, Stephen enjoys playing on the mountains and beaches of California with his wife, son and daughter.
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