Prepare “The Golden Path”
In preparing for your on-site community event, anticipate the path most guests will use upon arrival. From the parking lot, to the entry foyer, to hallways, walk the route and evaluate the course as if seeing it for the first time. Is anything in need of repair or cleaning? Are any light bulbs burned out? Is there clutter to be removed? Don’t forget to assess the condition of the bathrooms. Consider placing a small vase of flowers on restroom counter-tops to improve presentation. For those who choose to shuttle to-and-from the event, be sure the vehicle or golf cart is clean and in good operating condition.
Set the stage
The next step in being a good host is making guests comfortable; you don’t want them confused about where to go or concerned over what might be next on the agenda. To combat anxiety, a staff member should escort guests from the registration desk to the event location. This provides ample opportunity to point out amenities and talk about the advantages of your community. Be conversational, not salesy.
For educational programs, table seating is preferable since many attendees wish to take notes. Seating around the table should be comfortable with no overcrowding. If you have a large department, seat one staff member at each table so that counselors are accessible for guest questions. Remember to place a reserved sign at the counselors’ seat.
Décor contributes to the effect of the event.If you have tables, use small flower vases. To avoid the expense of commercial floral arrangements, invest in 10-20 small vases and one large vase, then purchase multiple flower bouquets from an inexpensive source such as Trader Joe’s or Fresh Market so that you can create your own eclectic flower arrangements. Coordinating the color of the napkins with the floral designs will add that extra special touch. Table décor may also include handout information, tablets and pens. These items add to the color scheme and increase the shelf life of your advertising efforts since many attendees will choose to take home a pen and pad.
Rather than playing music that was popular during your prospects’ heyday, consider using upbeat music that was current during the time they raised their children. Don’t forget to turn off the music when the program begins, as many in our target audience experience hearing difficulties. Always use a microphone!
Good food – good times
The importance of an excellent dining experience during a public event cannot be stressed enough. Many of your guests will also attend events at other communities. They are actively comparing your spread and its quality to other Life Plan Communities (CCRC’s). Be memorable for great food and great service.
Retirement DYNAMICS has worked with over 260 communities and established a list of engaging events that will entice prospects to visit you.
Give us a call at (888) 897-7768; we’d love to partner with you to assist in increasing the number and engagement of your leads.
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About the Author
Patty Scotten is a consultant with Retirement DYNAMICS® and serves as their marketing manager. Patty has over twenty five years’ experience in the senior living industry and has led several communities in preselling expansions or increasing occupancy levels. She graduated from Elon University and holds a Masters Degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patty is licensed as both an assisted living and nursing home administrator.