Over 1,800 Baby Boomer women who used Caring.com were surveyed to find out what they really thought about tours at senior communities.

By Pam McDonald

Last month Katie Roper, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Caring.com, the largest online resource for people who provide care for a senior loved one and a Senior Housing Forum partner, dedicated a Digital Marketing Academy webinar to the vitally important topic of community tours. Adding to the discussion was Jeanine Aspen, President, DEI Management Systems Central, a sales training firm and also a Senior Housing Forum partner. (This is Part 1 of a two-part series.)

Katie reported on the results of a survey conducted by Caring.com this year between April 18th and 27th. Over 1,800 Baby Boomer women who used the site were surveyed to find out what they really thought about tours at senior communities. A summary of results follows.

Survey Findings

One of their first findings showed:

  • 76% of those surveyed were invited to tour
  • 66% toured at least one community
  • 31% were asked if they wanted a tour but didn’t sign up
  • 3% scheduled a tour but didn’t make it
  • Of the those who weren’t asked if they wanted a tour, 75% said they might still be interested

Among the reason given for declining to tour were:

  • 46% had just starting their search           
  • 24% said the community was too expensive
  • 25% were not sure their loved one was ready 
  • 11% said the community was too far       
  • 9% didn’t have a way to get there
  • 8% didn’t have time

The following was true of those who toured communities:

  • 17% toured just one community
  • 25% toured two
  • 24% toured three
  • 34% toured four or more communities

Other findings included the following:

  • 95% of people felt welcomed when they arrived for their tour
  • 91% were impressed with the staff
  • 68% were surprised how nice the community was

Unfortunately, 20% felt the tour was too much of a sales pitch and 18% were not contacted following their tour.

Conclusions Reached by Caring.com

Caring.com concluded that tours are drivers of move-ins. Among the 66% who toured in last six months:

  • 40% had moved in already
  • 8% more were schedule to move in

This represents almost half of those who toured and was 3-1/2 times more than those who didn’t tour. Caring.com also noted that among those who toured, 25% moved in more quickly.

Open-ended comments on the survey also were illuminating and included the following:

  • I visited 14 communities; assisted living means different things in different communities
  • You can never get the feel of a place [solely] from online research
  • The feeling of hominess was not apparent until the visit
  • I got to look at the other clients
  • The only way to find out what really goes on in a community is to show up unannounced and ask for a tour — the response will scream volumes
  • Offerings at each location are not always online
  • Pricing was not necessarily online
  • I didn’t like the way the pricing discussion was handled
  • The main thing is cost and none of the communities I visited had any of their lowest priced apartments available

Katie pointed out that an online “virtual tour” could be a terrific addition to a community’s profile. Some comments said the online pictures didn’t do the community justice. Katie noted research shows that Boomers are engaging with video online. She suggested that residents talking about their great experience might be better than virtual tours that focus on real estate and features.

For more information, download an article from Caring.com, featuring the survey’s results on Community Tours: Survey Results on Tours.Caring.com 2015.