Having good resident occupancy is essential for any care home to be financially sustainable. There is a lot of cost when it comes to running a care home – from cleaning, catering, and general maintenance to staff wages, facilities, and activities for residents.
Here are some ways in which care homes can market themselves and boost resident occupancy.
Get involved with the local community.
Your future residents are probably living local to you - so it's crucial to have good links with the local area and community.
Paul Blane Managing Director at SVL Care Homes says:
"Do the local community know you exist? Do they know what you do? What do they see when they drive past? Is it memorable?"
He also suggests becoming more visible in your local community by sponsoring events, networking with local people and speaking to your towns district nurses, sheltered accommodation wardens, GPs, Parish councils.
The idea is to make strong connections with the local people so that when they need your services for themselves or loved ones, your home becomes the obvious choice.
Create a clear, informative website.
How useful is your website for potential residents or family members?
The world is becoming increasingly digital and it's essential to have an online space that represents your care home.
This doesn't have to cost the earth - a clear, straightforward website that has the information someone may need about your care home is a great place to start.
Think about what sets your residential home apart from the rest - the people, the staff, awards, facilities, ethos etc.
Record a virtual tour.
In-person tours and visits may not be an option for some people, so it's important to provide an alternative.
One idea is to record a virtual tour of the building that people can access via your website.
You could also work with a company to create a 360° virtual tour that allows people to virtually walk around the building and check things out for themselves.
Be active on social media.
Social media can be a powerful tool in raising awareness about your care home.
Make sure your pages are active and providing value to your local community and potential residents. Some ideas include:
- Showing off the best bits of your care home and getting people excited.
- Providing valuable resources and knowledge for those looking for a care home.
- Engaging with your audience and answering questions they might have.
- Featuring members of staff - friendly faces and personality work wonders online.
Share positive stories about care homes.
Share positive content on social media, providing information on your website, speaking with people in your community and opening up conversations.
Care homes are certainly not always the gloomy places the media portrays - this one is equipped with its own cinema, gym and wellness suite.
We’ve written a helpful guide for you to share with people if they’re debating whether a care home is right for them.
Spot your PR moments.
Have you got a positive news story to share with your local paper?
This can be a great way of getting under the noses of future residents and their families.
Perhaps you've recently renovated the garden area or opened an on-site pub?
Take a leaf out of these care homes’ books who got creative with their menus and ended up striving for Michelin Stars.
Alternatively, have you got a long-serving member of staff or someone in the team who goes above and beyond. It could even be an intriguing story from a resident.
Get to know your audience.
It's easy to make assumptions about how people are feeling and what challenges they face when looking for the right residential home, but have you thought about hearing it from the horse's mouth?
There are lots of ways you can get to know your target audience better, including:
- Asking your existing customers and family members of your residents about what led them to you.
- Running focus groups.
- Speaking with people on social media or in the local community.
- Looking at online forums, communities and Facebook groups to see what questions and challenges people have when selecting a care home.