As the 2011 ALFA Conference and Expo approaches (to be held April 5th - April 7th at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, Florida), ALFA takes a look back at last year's conference with a summary of last year's education session, Emerging from the Recession. During the session, leaders from two of the largest assisted living providers in the U.S. (and SeniorHomes.com customers!), Chris Hyatt, Executive Vice President and COO of Emeritus Senior Living, and Jeff Patton, Vice President, Procurement of Brookdale Senior Living, discuss financial strategies they learned as their companies emerged from the 2008-2009 recession.
Hyatt and Patton share some of the strategic tactics they utilized during the economic downturn that enabled their assisted living communities to emerge from the country's recession stronger and smarter. These takeaways aren't just useful during times of economic turmoil, as Patton points out, "I don't think we'll ever return to business as usual."
Protecting revenue is a major focus of any corporation during a recession. Emeritus Senior Living accomplished this by differentiating their products and services from the competition and reducing barriers to sales. Offering financing options encouraged residents who otherwise might not have had the capital to make a move possible. The company also created a central database to maintain better control over rents, which were once determined on a community-by-community basis. Hyatt notes, "You have to sell services, not real estate. There's nothing you can do to sell a 200-square-foot apartment to a married couple leaving a 2,000-square-foot home after 50 years."
Also interesting to note is that 10% of all leads generated via the internet resulted in a move-in during 2010 for Emeritus Senior Living. Recommendations include increased use of both search-engine marketing (SEM) and search-engine optimization (SEO) to boost both visibility and leads.
Brookdale Senior Living was able to protect revenues by re-allocating the company's resources. By consolidating staff hours among various communities, and essentially utilizing a combined labor pool, Brookdale was able to preserve jobs and make more efficient use of trained staff.
Read the full summary from ALFA for a complete list of key takeaways from the ALFA 2010 Conference & Expo Education Session.
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