Senior Living Management Case Studies
12 Oaks Success Stories
LEASING AND MARKETING SPRINT
Like many senior living operators, 12 Oaks Senior Living communities were not immune to the negative impacts of COVID-19, most significantly, decreased inquiries and confusion amid an environment of unfavorable public sentiment and fear. The result was a decrease in occupancy for several consecutive months in early 2021. This occupancy decline, combined with restrictions to community access, internal lockdowns, restrictions on staff and resident movement, and attempts to mitigate COVID-19 exposure within the communities, resulted in discouraged staff who were displaying signs of burnout.
Adhering to its tenets of Transformational and Servant Leadership, 12 Oaks recognized the need to fuel the community leasing staff and Executive Directors with relational nutrients so their internal motivation would support continued productivity. Through intentional group motivation calls and individually tailored executive coaching measures, the leasing staff learned a new way to adapt strategies, including outreach tactics, that developed authentic relationships within an emerging world limited by virtual connections.
At the same time, decreased revenue resulting from declining occupancy and decreased inquiry traffic began to reverse. The sales leasing staff’s closing ratios increased – even while they were being pulled into caregiving and administrative roles to mitigate staffing shortages.
The next phase of the 12 Oaks strategy was to increase closing ratios and maximize the number of move-ins by bolstering existing tactics and adding new tactics. In addition, the method by which lead generation was accomplished was reviewed and revised. 12 Oaks tactics to accomplish this proactive strategy included:
- Engaging a primary marketing vendor who acted directly on behalf of 12 Oaks-managed properties to provide creative direction, in-depth analysis, and forecasting with metrics-driven spending to drive qualified leads to the properties.
- Cohort Calls being created that recognized staff as humans who required fueling and encouragement from the outside. These nutrients were provided from the 12 Oaks corporate office as on-site staff members were tired and hope-deprived, yet the organization required staff to get in the trenches and keep leasing.
- Competency calls being implemented in conjunction with PCS Fundamentals training (Sherpa), on-site visits, role plays, and practice of closing skills following the mantra of Connect, Untangle, and Advance.
- Weekly leasing update calls being implemented, placing the ED in the public lead of community leasing efforts in which weekly self-assigned goals were determined and progress reported to the peer group.
- Increased previously established IMPACT training in which trained executive coaches cultivated and developed property staff to be among the industry’s best by increasing components of Character Structure and Emotional Intelligence, resulting in an enhanced ability to deal with negative realities.
- Daily tracking and discussion of occupancy being measured to monitor and respond to favorable or negative trending. Additional selling resources were provided via 12 Oaks Solutions, the third-party consulting group, in which hands-on leasing activities such as prospect planning, call-outs, tours, and outreach efforts were supported. Additionally, programs were solidified, including First Impression Training (FIT) and Symphony of Life®, which resulted in a favorable environment for the entire staff and residents alike.
- Contests were implemented focusing on lead measures such as call-outs, prospect planning, and creative follow-ups, which created a climate of connection between each of the community teams with weekly 12 Oaks corporate office recognition of winners.
The leasing sprint from June through September 2021 resulted in a net increase of 60 occupied beds across 10 properties and a subsequent upward trend in net gains. Results produced 199 move-ins across a four-month period averaging five move-ins per month per community.
While there is general recognition that a sustainable marketing strategy is more akin to a marathon, with investment in marketing automation, SEO, in-person sales, skills training, customer relationship management systems (CRMs), and committed leasing specialists, the periodic injection of a “leasing and marketing sprint” can breathe new vision and energy into the lifeblood of any senior living community to overcome adverse circumstances.
In 2007, 12 Oaks formed a venture company to acquire a senior living community in Baytown, Texas for 12.3 million dollars. The community offered 90 Assisted Living units ( Type A license) and 14 AL units (Type B). 12 Oaks recognized an opportunity to expand and remodel the existing community, create a more proﬁ table service model, increase annual net operating income then sell for a profit.
The new venture set a goal to timely complete the expansion and remodel of the community, lease up the new units, obtain financing based on the new net operating income and investment parameters, hold the property for the expected investment period and then sell to an institutional investor for the expected returns.
The goals were exceeded. In 2011, a Fannie Mae loan was obtained based on the new stabilized net operating income trend, providing investment partners with a substantial return. In 2015, the property was sold for approximately 29.6 million dollars. The final distribution resulted in an invested Equity IRR of approximately 14% over the eight-year investment period.
EL PASO, TEXAS
In January 2012, an investment group purchased an underperforming portfolio of four communities in El Paso, Texas. The opportunity represented a portfolio of 387 beds across four communities involving independent, assisted living and dedicated memory care. Due to an established relationship based on proven performance, 12 Oaks was selected as the senior living management company for the communities
Recognizing that the communities were suffering from a lack of attention, 12 Oaks proposed to manage the communities, implementing its high-touch model through limited geographic management and focused, prospect-centered selling.
The key to the strategy under the limited geographic model was to locate a Regional Vice President of Operations in El Paso. This high-touch model provided the Regional VP with the opportunity to truly understand the market, support the leasing counselors and the implementation of prospect-centered selling, and to be on site leading and directing operations through the executive directors in support of community department heads, allowing the communities and local teams to respond to challenges in real-time.
12 Oaks delivered results. In the first 4 months of 2012, capacity at the 56-bed community went from 66% to 100%. It took 10 months for the 96-bed community to go from 79% to 98%. In 5 months, capacity at the 130-bed community went from 82% to 91%. At the struggling 105-bed community, capacity went from 46% in January of 2012 to 76% in December of the same year. Under 12 Oaks management, the NOI increased from 1.88M (Oct. 2011 T-3) to 2.6M for 2014 (FY), an increase of 39%.
BROKEN ARROW, OKLAHOMA
In June 2018, 12 Oaks was engaged by ownership as the senior living management company for a 105-unit Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The property was suffering from a slow lease-up trajectory in an overbuilt market under previous management.
12 Oaks proposed to increase lease-up velocity through the application of its management philosophy, including implementation of its high-touch model, limited geographic management, optimized culture, targeted marketing and prospect-centered selling.
The assigned Regional Vice President of Operations and select consultants from 12 Oaks Solutions quickly assessed the performance of key on-site leadership, operations and current property culture. A strategy for implementation was developed and the 12 Oaks senior living management and operations team went to work.
As with all assisted living/memory care communities, three main components must be maximized to achieve a high leasing velocity. These components are quality facilities, qualified leads and proper staff execution. These three components are further observed in the overall property environment, also known as culture.
12 Oaks boosted competitive advantages relative to the primary market area. Qualified lead traffic was maximized through sufficient spend in key areas (traditional advertising like mail, newspaper, etc., and additional advertising including an online presence and targeted television spend). Shortly after taking over, 12 Oaks assessed and revamped the marketing and leasing team through new hires and training in prospect-centered selling to maximize closing ratios.
Upon engagement, the senior living community occupancy was 55%. A year later, under 12 Oaks leadership, the community achieved 88%. For the 12-month period ending in October 2019, the community averaged 6.5 move-ins per month. During the first 12 months of 12 Oaks senior living management, monthly revenue increased from $291,000 to $465,000, a gain of $174,000 and monthly net operating income increased from $5,000 to $105,000. The results represent a successful application of the 12 Oaks Targeted Marketing Strategy.
A venture company acquired this uncompleted 209-unit Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care community out of bankruptcy in Longview, Texas. 12 Oaks was engaged as the senior living management company for the pre-opening, lease-up and ongoing operations of the community. Upon completion of construction of the Independent Living portion, operations began on site in September 2017. Construction and licensing of the Assisted Living and Memory Care portions were subsequently completed, and those buildings opened in April 2018.
Through its proven behavioral-based interviewing techniques and psychometric testing, 12 Oaks assembled a staff that exhibited a strong connection to the 12 Oaks core values. Training included the application of prospect-centered selling to maximize closing ratios for the new, lease-up community.
As a large, Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care community, it was important to maximize the three main components for high leasing velocity: quality facilities, qualified leads and proper staff execution. These three components are further grounded within the overall property culture. The property was able to boast competitive advantages relative to the primary market area. Qualified lead traffic was maximized through sufficient spend in key areas such as traditional advertising (mail, newspapers, etc.), additional advertising including an online presence and a targeted television spend. The efforts produced adequate qualified leads and combined with an extraordinary closing ratio driven by the Executive Director and the marketing and leasing staff, occupancy quickly grew even in a highly competitive market. Utilizing prospect-centered selling, which includes relationship-based training, the community staff achieved excellent lease-up velocity.
One year after opening, the Independent Living portion had achieved an occupancy of 55%, representing an average of 4.3 net move-ins per month. Ownership elected to exit and sold the community in January 2020.
At sale, even with the seven-month delay in the opening of the Assisted Living and Memory Care portions, the community boasted an overall occupancy of 73%. The community had a stellar inquiry/move-in ratio of 23% compared to the industry average of 12-15%. The community averaged 10 move-ins per month over the 18-month period ending December 2019. It represents another successful implementation of the 12 Oaks senior living management philosophy, solidly impacting lease-up and value creation.