By Greg Corns, Solterra Companies

There are many ways to attract residents to your community, and, in fact, this topic is talked about on a regular basis at conferences, on podcasts, on blogs, and in numerous industry articles. I find all these strategies to be valuable, and if done consistently, they can have positive results in generating traffic to the building.

But what happens once you get them in your building? What’s next? Creating a seamless tour strategy that is well rehearsed is a good start. I’m not suggesting this process to be a Hollywood movie set, “queue the extras” — rather, the tour should be one that is rehearsed and authentic, and the individual touring should be prepared to answer numerous questions and most importantly make their guests feel at home.

Be a Building That’s Part of the Community, Not Just in the Community.

In my opinion, most buildings offer the same amenities, including theaters, great activities, fine foods, great care, housekeeping, fitness rooms, cleanliness, etc. So, how do you position your building differently than the building down the street?

I was recently at BridgeWater Assisted Living in Avondale, Arizona, a building we manage and that has embraced being a part of the community. Avondale is a quaint area just west of downtown Phoenix that today is one of the fastest growing cities in the area. Like many small towns, generations of families have been raised and still reside in the area. Many were farmers, worked on the railroad, or tended to the many cotton fields in the area. Like most small agricultural cities, everyone knew each other. Ironically, this is still true today.

Prior to the BridgeWater building opening, the team that would ultimately be responsible for operating the building decided they wanted the building to be ingrained in the community and set out to do just that. Working with the town historian, they learned about the families and individuals who were influential in the community. They set out to honor these early settlers and leaders throughout the building with photos, by naming common area rooms after them, and even naming the model rooms. Below are a few of the floor plans and the names of whom they are named after:

  • The MOORE — named after Avondale community founder Billy Moore
  • The GARCIA — named after the founder of the first general store, Sam Garcia
  • The AVON — named after the first indoor theater (still in business today)
  • The FARM — named in honor of all those who farmed the area

Does It Make A Difference?

Rey Espinoza, area sales and marketing director for the community, leads the charge on being part of the community. He’s proud of what was created and is familiar, as he was raised in the area. I asked Rey, does creating this kind of environment really help close prospects when you tour?

He replied, “Absolutely! Many of the people I meet with have either known the individuals or attended one of the venues in town. What tends to happen on many occasions is that we spend time talking about their relationships with the individuals and their family members or their date at the Avon Theater that it becomes a historical tour.” So, our tour actually becomes very engaging, and the local history makes a difference. Without a doubt, most people want to be in a place that they feel comfortable and at home. Having this historical presence, albeit it in name or photograph, provides that sense of home.

Rey and his team host many events at the building and invite members of the City Council, the mayor, and family members of those whom the rooms have been named after on a regular basis. Rey shared that they market the building much like others; however, they know that if the team can get them in the building, they have a much better opportunity to bring a new member into the community.

Wouldn’t you rather reside in a building that’s part of the community?