older couple on laptops on the couch

Web presence was extremely important for senior living operators last year, with almost 50% of inquiries coming from the web for all care levels. That’s according to the latest Sales and Marketing Benchmark Report for Senior Housing, released Tuesday by Denver-based Enquire.

The report found that communities using marketing automation fared better during 2020 and drove more inquiries than those that didn’t. In addition to helping driving leads, automation also helped operators address challenges related to staffing, as well as increase opportunities to serve residents and meet customer expectations, Enquire noted. 

“In 2020, we saw organizations begin to automate the top-of-the-funnel activities with integrated marketing automation that takes online visitors and converts them to opportunities. Not only that, but with referring contacts putting up great numbers for the industry, marketing automation was used to push out relevant content to those sources ensuring they remain engaged,” the firm wrote in the report. “The reality is that potential customers are online. Providing relevant content will be key to driving inquiries.”

Overall, the report found that independent living, despite the pandemic, had a decent year in 2020. Conversion numbers remained consistent across the board despite there being fewer inquiries and tours. The percent of inquiries coming from the web also increased by 37% last year. 

Within assisted living, operators saw a strong recovery from the April low in August. Conversion rates remained fairly consistent with the tour-to-move-in conversion increasing slightly due to fewer tours being held. Similar to independent living, web inquiries increased dramatically within this sector last year, jumping 32% compared with 2019.

Memory care saw its conversion from inquiry-to-move-in rate drop 10% last year. Unlike the other sectors, however, memory care move-ins that happened in 2020 took about the same amount of time as move-ins in 2019. Other sectors saw move-in times increase dramatically.