How Does Your Senior Living Community Stack Up Against Industry Benchmarks?

Occupancy rates in senior living communities hit record lows at the end of 2020, and experts predict it could take at least a year to recover pre-pandemic census levels.

That’s the market backdrop as the COVID-19 vaccine arrives at communities across the country, and operators resume normal operations and plan for the future.

Evaluating senior living industry benchmarks is an essential part of strategic decision-making, especially in a time of historic change. But it can be hard to effectively gauge how you’re performing relative to everyone else – especially when the market is as volatile as it’s been over the past year. 

To hit 2021 goals, operators can review, refine, and respond to key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most to their business. Here are three tips for doing that.

1: Assess Senior Living Market Data to Keep Tabs on Industry-Wide Movement 

There are a number of resources available to help operators get a pulse on senior living industry benchmarks.

The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) is a non-profit that provides senior living industry trends and analytics for investors and operators. The NIC releases annual reports on occupancy, rent growth, absorption, inventory growth, and construction.

Beyond the NIC, there are paid tools to find comprehensive senior living market data specific to your region, like LivingPath, a company that provides occupancy, pricing, and concessions data for local competitors in senior housing.

The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) provides benchmarks for communities to evaluate their wellness programs. Operators can use this resource to see how their metrics on resident engagement and physical activity compare to other communities.

Keep in mind that while it’s helpful to know how your communities stack up against competitors in terms of KPIs, some of your metrics won’t always have an apples-to-apples comparison. That’s because some of the metrics that are crucial to your business outcomes are unique to your senior living operations.

2: Track Metrics That Align with Your Strategic and Financial Goals

Your bottom line may hinge on occupancy rates, but senior living operators must also track…

  • In-place, move-in, and asking rates
  • Close ratio (the number of move-ins divided by the number of tours)
  • Appointment ratio (the number of tours divided by the number of inquiries)

If you focus only on direct business corollaries from resident sales, however, you may leave out important metrics that have an impact on overall financial health. Revenue leaks can happen across the board, and spotting them can help operators widen margins even further while attracting new residents.

But here, for instance, are several less obvious marketing and operational metrics that can have major implications for business: 

  • Staff turnover rates. High staff turnover and shortages can decrease the quality of care, drain your budget, and ultimately cost you residents.
  • Activity attendance. Communities want to stave off the harmful effects of resident social isolation by increasing activity engagement.
  • Waitlisted resident engagement. Sales teams can miss conversion potential by not thoroughly engaging with people on the resident waitlist.
  • Marketing and sales response time. The average time it takes your team to respond to an interested party can make a big difference for prospects early in the sales timeline.

Evaluate your management from the top down to see if you can find opportunities to stop revenue leaks and improve efficiencies. You can then tie these smaller metrics back to your central KPIs and long-term strategic goals.

3: If You’re Not Hitting Your Goals, Don’t Be Afraid to Change Things Up

Evaluating industry benchmarks and identifying areas for improvement are only steps one and two – the third and most important step is to devise an action plan to achieve your goals. Your KPIs aren’t going to change if your operations don’t.

Technology can be a major boost to effectiveness across operations, from staff efficiency to marketing reach to resident satisfaction. It’s also a great selling point for prospective residents. 

Struggling with a low close ratio compared to one of your nearby competitors? Don’t just wait around for more interested prospects to come along once they’ve been vaccinated. Leverage virtual tours and digital assets to engage prospective residents after they’ve toured.

Finally, remember that your metrics are fluid and can change year over year as you implement action plans in growth areas.

Stay One Step Ahead of Senior Living Benchmarks in 2021

As the senior living industry plans for a period of recovery and future growth, operators can plan now to differentiate themselves from the competition by assessing industry data, identifying growth areas, and implementing plans to regain lost revenue and grow their bottom lines.

Want to learn more about how Caremerge can help your senior living operation achieve dynamic business goals?

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