Senior Living Reviews Rise as First Stop for Online Shoppers

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Marketing Matters is brought to you by Solutions Advisors and Retiring by Design. Working together, Solutions Advisors and Retiring by Design give you the analytic and creative synergy to develop unique solutions and achieve optimum results for your senior living community, providing management, operations, marketing, and sales consulting services. 

Not only are the majority of seniors and their loved ones turning to the Internet to find assisted living facilities, but they’re also turning to review sites to determine a community’s worth.

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Many senior living providers have embraced online reviews. Some even respond to each and every one—positive or negative.

But how much do reviews really matter in senior living? Today’s shopper says: a lot.

Seventy-three percent of Americans say they would pay more for a community with favorable online reviews, and 82% say they use online reviews as part of their assisted living selection research, according to a recent study by assisted living software review and research company Software Advice.

Software Advice conducted a two-day online survey of eight questions, and gathered 2,711 responses from random shoppers throughout the United States who are currently looking, or have recently looked, for an assisted living facility for themselves or a loved one.

“Good online reviews can be seen as marketing tools to attract high-paying residents,” says Software Advice. “Consumers are not only using reviews in the selection process—they are incorporating reviews significantly in their budgeting decisions, too.”

Online Reviews: The First Step

For nearly half of online shoppers searching assisted living review sites is the first step. Forty-two percent of Americans are likely to seek out online reviews as their first method of researching assisted living facilities, data show.

In addition, 30% of respondents said they would consult online reviews to narrow down a short list of possible facilities, and 28% would use them to validate a tentative choice.

“This is valuable insight for assisted living communities, especially as retiring baby boomers begin joining the pool of potential residents,” Software Advice assisted living and senior living software researcher Gaby Loria tells SHN. “Today, nearly eight out of 10 people evaluating nursing homes are logging in to look at reviews. We were surprised that number is so high, and expect it to stay steady or rise in the coming years as more tech-savvy generations become decision makers for assisted living facility placement.”

Details about amenities, services and ratings scores comprise the top three choices for what information respondents considered most important in assisted living reviews — with 38% of respondents ranking those three types of information equally in importance.

Cost Ranks As Top Concern

Costs and billing options rank among the most important types of information provided on an assisted living provider’s profile, according to the Software Advice study.

“The most common pick was information related to facility costs and billing and payment options, chosen by 41% of respondents,” says Software Advice. “This was followed by details about the location, 40% and number of years the facility has been operating, 27%.”

The bottom line, Loria says, is that negative reviews can cost providers crucial business.

“Too many negative reviews could lead prospective residents or their loved ones to discount facilities more quickly—perhaps without even speaking to a facility representative,” she says.

Access the report here.

For more information about Solutions Advisors and Retiring by Design, visit solutions-advisors.com.

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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