Village operators – we know why sales may be slow. We have a perception problem, and a solution

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Our just-completed DCM Prospect Profile survey of 2,207 people aged 60+ has confirmed that just 14% perceive that retirement villages are affordable! Worse, 51% think they are expensive.

On top of this, 42% of people think village homes are small (with little storage space).

Not a great place to be starting a customer conversation on why they should leave their (larger) family home.

Our research partner, AOR, dug deep into why people felt this way and found many had been to a village many years ago and had a dim memory, or simply had a rough opinion that had become a firm opinion.

We asked AOR to do a series of face-to-face interviews with both nonresidents and new residents to get the impact on the perceptions of people who had shopped for a village and then bought, compared to people who had not recently experienced a village. This is what they each thought:

AOR found that visiting one or more villages turned most people around; their perceptions changed. The hard part is to get them to the village.

Part of the solution: most people shop first on the web, so undermine the ingrained perceptions with great aspirational photography that has energy.

Nothing is more certain than if the images of the village are flat and average, then perceptions will be confirmed.

Present village homes as homes that people can see themselves in and present villages as optimistic, vibrant places where real people enjoy living.

This is not hard. But it does require good photographers.

A few weeks ago, I was looking at a customer’s website and was immediately struck at the energy in their images. It was Eleebana Shores, just south of Newcastle. Check it HERE.

We called them and asked who the photographer was; they said Ken Roney from Brisbane. We then called Ken. He is an ex-creative director for big ad agencies and understands creating images with sizzle. (He also does great weddings).

Point is, Mark Dixon, the owner of Eleebana Shores, found Ken and invested in getting him down from Brisbane – and his website and Eleebana Shores is seriously aspirational. A place to make a real home.

And the prices and floorplans are up front too, dispelling the ‘expensive’ tag.

Eleebana Shores is selling well, we are told. Not a surprise.