By Steve Moran

At Senior Living 100 this year, Jim Wiseman, president of Margaritaville Development, gave a short talk about what makes their active 55+ communities so successful. The recurring theme was so obnoxiously simple that it makes my head spin.


That’s it. That’s all there is to their success.

Simple But Complex

While the concept is simple, what goes into it takes a lot of work. Every single thing they do is all about how it makes their customers and their prospects feel. It starts the moment you pull into the parking lot, where the parking stripes are little palm trees. Then the music you hear and visuals you see. Every single bit of it is themed to make you feel happy and to be like nothing else you have ever seen in any other active 55+ community.

Everything you experience makes you think … I could live here and be happy.

Senior Living

I have this vision of some senior living executive or leadership team committing to making living and working in your community feel great every day. Here is what it would look like.

For prospects and residents:

  • Your marketing materials, including your website, would be completely different.
  • It would feel so so good to walk into your community and very different than every other community.
  • They would have regular peak experiences.
  • They would make new friends and grow old friendships.
  • A year after they moved in, they would be glad they did.
  • They would tell stories about how great a life they and their loved ones are living.

For team members:

  • It would start with the job description and interview. It would feel good — feel like a place they want to work.
  • People would be coming to you wanting to work for you as a boss for your organization because it is better and different.
  • They would know they are making a difference in the lives of others.
  • They would know the organization is better because they are a part of it.
  • They would tell stories about how great it is to work for you.
  • They would invite their friends to work for you and your organization.

It is that simple because the concept is simple, and that hard because it takes a constant and continuous effort to make it happen. You simply can never stop the focus.