American House Revamps Marketing, Staffing With New Operational Playbook | Senior Housing News
After a year of occupancy revenue growth in 2022, American House Senior Living is poised to further grow this year thanks to an aggressive acquisition strategy, revamped sales and marketing efforts and a new way of doing things.
In 2022, American House took on the management of 13 former Eclipse Senior Living properties in Tennessee and opened two newly-developed communities. To capitalize on the new growth, American House revamped its marketing and sales strategies and implemented what COO Brianne Zitko called a new operating playbook.
“Our teams said that throughout 2020 and 2021 there was not enough consistency due to changing conditions of the pandemic,” Zitko told Senior Housing News. “So that’s when we looked at refining our systems and processes, and we’re really getting towards a mastery of operations excellence.”
In 2022, occupancy increased five percentage points to 87% across the American House stabilized portfolio, with margins across its standalone IL communities back in the 30th percentile and nearing pre-pandemic levels. Resident rental rates also increased 8% to 15% on a market-specific basis.
Southfield, Michigan-based American House has over 70 communities throughout the U.S.
Building a leadership team, priming growth engine
American House realized an approximate 30% net operating income (NOI) increase in 2022 for its stabilized senior housing portfolio, something Zitko attributes to American House’s efforts to rebuild senior leadership and bolstering clinical and dining leadership teams with operations in mind.
“We’ve doubled down on service quality by rebuilding our senior leadership team in 2021, and in 2022 we were refining regional-level leadership and creating better alignment between all departments,” Zitko said. “I think creating that alignment has helped drive results.”
American House hired a head of clinical for independent living — a move aimed at eschewing the need for third-party care providers — and a new vice president of culinary services. The hiring effort was undertaken in part to keep up with industry trends such as rising resident acuity and a changing demographic of residents.
The focus on leadership at the corporate and regional levels helped stabilize operations, according to Zitko. Specifically, it gave the company’s community-level teams more structure and clearer expectations of what to do and who to report to.
American House also in 2022 launched an in-house marketing agency to handle functions including copywriting, digital outreach, social media and public relations. That eliminated reliance on outside firms to help get the word out and generate interest among prospects.
And because the company handled marketing on the corporate level, it gave the company’s associates more time to spend on the leads coming into their communities.
Overall, doing so has led to a 50% increase in overall lead generation after the strategy shift, according to Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Dina Kelly. The quality of those leads are also now better, she said.
“Our marketing and sales teams are completely aligned. This means we are living and breathing in our markets, and we can move quickly from idea to concept to implementation,” Kelly told SHN. ”It’s been a huge game-changer for our field teams.”
By focusing on the “digital front door,” and revamping the company’s web presence, American House’s leaders have seen positive results come in “fast and furious,” Zitko said.
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