Senior living communities everywhere are feeling the impact of our changing market, and these changes go beyond the influx of baby boomers needing care. Competition is higher than ever. Seniors and their families are thoroughly researching potential living and care solutions. With these changes and more in play, new senior living trends to help communities compete seem to emerge weekly. How does a community keep up? One service industry basic—hospitality— may be an industry game changer for senior living communities that execute on it authentically.
Hospitality is not just a great entry space and a warm welcome. Differentiating your senior living community using hospitality is so much more than focusing solely on community amenities. True hospitality in the senior living industry is the intersection of remarkable service and authentic community. And perhaps most importantly, enduring hospitality is not a customer experience tactic relegated to communities with the largest budgets. Enduring senior living hospitality makes your facility memorable, appeals to today’s consumers desperately seeking community and become a market differentiator.
Selling senior living hospitality vs. healthcare
You might be wondering why all the emphasis on hospitality. We’re in the care industry, right? In an industry where every single community sells very similar healthcare services setting yourself apart can be challenging. Authentic hospitality is service-focused, experiential and creates lasting community and fellowship. Excellent service contains many of the same elements at different communities, but it will look, feel and be unique to your community when it is mission-driven.
If hospitality is not just beautiful amenities, delicious meals and a daily itinerary, what is it? Let’s redefine hospitality as a business driver. True, hospitality is mission-driven. Personalized experiences, authentic interactions, generosity and strong community start at an organization’s core—mission and vision. Without mission, hospitality is a surface level nicety. Mission-driven hospitality can create change and differentiation. Brand culture and community flow from your mission to create a one-of-a-kind experience residents and families remember.
To provide an example of authentic senior living hospitality let’s use the sample mission: Providing care and compassion that allows our residents to fully embrace life. We’ll use this example as we explore how brand, culture and community work together to create hospitality in healthcare.
Brand is so much more than a logo and tagline. Your senior living community’s brand becomes the essence of your mission. The brand is a visual expression of your mission and directly influences how hospitality is built via culture and community. The tagline for our example community might be “Embrace Life Together.” The themes of seizing the day and sharing moments together within this brand lead us to consider how the community’s physical space:
- Creates both small fellowship spaces and larger community venues.
- Guides residents to share meals and conversation together.
- Promotes activities aimed at helping residents make the most of each day.
The senior living space design is critical. Your space reflects your brand, and potential residents will picture themselves living in your facility as they evaluate the community that best fits their lifestyle.
While brand is the external expression of your mission, culture brings that mission to life on the inside. If your brand focuses on care, is your team being cared for and appreciated? Are they empowered to go beyond the basics to provide the right care (physical and emotional) to every resident? Is your team building connections with residents that create belonging? Culture separates remarkable care from bland customer service.
In our example community, the way team members treat one another and embrace life together will dramatically impact the experience residents have interacting with your team. Embracing life together and going above and beyond for residents are concepts that need to be modeled by leadership.
Hotel-like amenities, including personal training-based fitness centers, coffee shops and on-property boutiques are the “it” senior living hospitality trend for building a community. Rather than simply following the trends, try putting resident desires first to drive creativity and problem solving. Ask how your mission coupled with resident demand can drive innovative resident experiences. Are residents looking for more interesting dining options? Try embracing life together and building community through monthly progressive dinners. Get your residents and team involved in brainstorming the right experiences for your community, and your building design and amenities will follow.
The bottom line on senior living hospitality
Get started differentiating your organization by infusing hospitality into every facet of your senior living community. Start by answering the following questions:
- How is your mission being used to help your community come alive for residents?
- How does brand coupled with resident demand drive innovative (not necessarily expensive) resident experiences?
- Based on your mission, how can your team provide personalized engagement?
- Are your employees driven to provide an authentic branded experience?
Considering how your space might change to fully reflect your mission? Great architecture and design can invigorate your community. Ready to learn more? Contact us or call (920) 969-9344 to schedule a free introductory meeting.