2020 is the year of disruption. Fires, drought and COVID.
For retirement communities, reviewing the landscape, there are significant threats to the business model, and opportunities. The challenge is to understand both and have the data to take proactive action.
Looking forward, consumer confidence will be hit by a damaged economy, with 10% unemployment, recession, negative housing prices and stalled savings income. The GFC showed it took five years for retirement community sales to return to 2007 levels.
Stalled sales will generate concerned families seeking the sale proceeds, while residents will see the vibrancy of new entrants ebb away, impacting the local market reputation and ultimately the value of the retirement community. Operators will have less cash to reinvest in the operations and assets.
A weakened sector lays the ground for both increased regulatory and media attention. And the prospect of a COVID breakout in one community will infect the whole sector.
Retirement communities have unprecedented satisfaction ratings by residents.
Efforts in response to the COVID threat to safeguard and support residents have been high.
Resident protections are established and mature.
In the new world where personal confidence has been greatly undermined, where assumed community security and personal independence are increasingly being questioned, retirement communities present a proven ‘safe harbour’.
The requirement: data and tools today
To prepare for the threats and capitalise on the opportunity, operators need real data to build tailored strategies and take proactive action.
At DCM we have been commissioning marketing based research in the retirement community space since 2008, in response to the GFC. With 2020’s rapidly evolving landscape we have designed three separate but integrated research programs to support operators, and by extension residents.
- The DCM 2020 Prospect Profile: a substantial investigation of today’s new customer, with a deep dive into the genuine concerns beyond the standard responses. 40 interviews / 2,000 online surveys / 200 phone surveys. Results commence July.
- The DCM 2020 National Resident Survey: the fourth longitudinal study of residents on a national level and a community level. Identification of strengths/weaknesses, satisfaction, ratings for marketing and benchmarking. 2018 delivered 19,200 respondents across 520 villages.
- Outsourced 2020 Regulatory Compliance Surveys: Required in NSW under the Rules of Conduct and the Retirement Living Code of Conduct, operators can outsource the pen & paper required survey to DCM for efficiency and compliance.
The research program will deliver the sector the data to build a new value proposition for the post COVID market for retirement accommodation, plus strength in presenting the contribution the sector makes locally and nationally.
For operators, the research will provide the facts base to be proactive.
The 2020 Prospect Profile research is in the field now with results flowing from 10 July, to ensure operators have the data to act fast.
The National Resident Survey will be in the field in August.