Award-Winning Senior Living Communities Share Their Secrets

Award-Winning Senior Living Communities Share Their Secrets

When we announced the winners of the SeniorAdvisor 2013/14 Excellence Awards earlier this year, many communities reached out to us asking how they could win next year. We’ve since spoken with many of the winning communities to learn their secrets, and now we’re sharing those secrets with you. Read on to learn what 5-star-rated communities have done to earn their ratings and get rave reviews!

Tap Into Your Team’s Competitive Spirit

Several of the communities we spoke with said they couldn’t have earned their 5-star rating without the help of their staff. The professionalism and care exhibited by their staff certainly deserved 5 stars; now all they had to do was make sure other people knew about it!

A large national organization inspired their team members by creating a nationwide contest that had individual communities competing to get the best ratings. Team members got creative and started asking for reviews whenever and however they could. They set up residents with email addresses and showed them how to use to write a review. They emailed links to their community review pages out to current and prospective families and other community contacts like volunteers and vendors. Some even threw “review parties,” where residents could come down to the computer room and enjoy a piece of cake while writing their review! Within weeks, sometimes days, the ratings and reviews numbers for these communities soared. The staff at the winning communities earned appreciation parties and other prizes for their efforts.

The Independence of Charlottesville, VA engaged their staff with a systematic, form-based approach similar to surveys. This allowed them to gather performance feedback as well as reviews at the same time! Visit Senior Housing Forum to learn how they did it.

Retirement Communities near Charlottesville Va

Show Appreciation for Your Residents

While some communities incentivized their staff, others looked to their residents. To encourage families to write reviews, one community hosts a monthly drawing which includes the names of all the families that wrote reviews that month. The winning family receives a special dinner in the community’s private dining room!

Another community incorporated reviews into their activities program. They offer regular computer classes for their residents, and one of the sessions focused on how to post an online review of the community.

Use Reviews in Your Marketing and Advertising

The majority of the SeniorAdvisor Excellence Award winners said the most powerful part of the awards package for them was receiving recognition through their local press. When one community ran a story in their local newspaper about their award win, they got two same day tours and a same day deposit, all driven from the local press! Even if your community didn’t receive an Excellence Award in 2013/14, you can still use these same principles to promote your highly-rated community.

For instance, you can create a marketing campaign centered around getting 5-star reviews and showing off the ones you already have. Include your 5-star rating in the ad copy for the promotions and move-in specials you’re currently running (“What’s it like to live in a 5-star community? Come find out!”) Add a “Favorite Review” section to your monthly newsletter and include a link to your community review page on Feature the residents and families who wrote you rave reviews – people love to be recognized! 2013-14 Excellence Award

Engaging the people who live and work at your community every day is key to establishing a reviews program that continually generates positive reviews for your community. Do you have other ideas on how you can get positive reviews for your community? Share them in the comments!

Based in Austin, TX, Amelia is the former Content Marketing Manager for When she’s not writing about online reputation management, online reviews, and social media in the senior living space, she enjoys yoga and running with her dog Rockefeller. She graduated from Wellesley College cum laude with a dual degree in English and Medieval/Renaissance Studies.


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