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Increase Tour: Move-in Conversions, First by Improving First Impressions

It costs an average of $900 to generate one tour, so it is worth taking time to pre-plan a WOW Experience!  The three most common root causes for a low Tour: Move-In Ratio are Poor First Impressions, Unplanned Tour Experiences, and Lack of Creative Follow Up.  Here are some ways to improve first impressions to boost the Tour: Move-In conversions.

First Impressions

Curb Appeal

Take an honest look at your landscaping, trash, clutter, outside seating, smoking area, and ask yourself, “does this represent the care and respect we show to our residents and does it reflect the cleanliness and attention to detail inside the community?”


Do you have dedicated parking for your tours?  Do you allow staff or family visitors to take up those spots so they are not available for tour parking?  Can you create a temporary tour parking area for tours or offer valet service to make it easy for tours to park and enter the community?


Is the concierge aware of all scheduled tours and does he/she have their name so they can greet them by name?  Do they get up for every tour and come around the desk to welcome them, take coats, and offer refreshments?   Is there a sign in the front area welcoming the tour by name?


Do not keep a tour waiting!  Someone (preferably the sales person) should be at the ready to meet and welcome the tour at their car or as they walk in the door.

Hospitality Room

Tour process is Sit-Walk-Sit, and every tour should start in a dedicated Hospitality Room that is private and invites a comfortable conversation and an environment to share privately.  Ideally, this is a dedicated room with a selection of refreshments and fresh baked goodies.  If that is not possible, stock the model apartment with all of the refreshments and collaterals.

Model Apartment

This is a must and it cannot be leftover, mismatched resident furniture!  The model should incorporate all the senses – look beautiful, smell wonderful, music playing, be clean, and well light – bright and cheerful!  Models sell!


From outside and throughout the community, prospects notice the cleanliness of the community and make the connection that this reflects the quality of resident care.  Clutter, chairs in disarray after an activity, scuffed door kick plates, and dirty bathrooms are key and often overlooked.  To raise attention to first impressions, create a simple First Impressions Checklist and have one manager own the daily walk through for a week and bring it to Stand-Up to identify areas of focus.

If you need any of these tools, check out Senior Living SMART! Part 2 of the series is coming up Wednesday when you learn how to turn your tour experiences into Move-ins! Part 3 will be Friday on how to follow-up on the tours effectively to increase move-in ratio.

9 replies
  1. Patrica Grace
    Patrica Grace says:

    You would think that the above would be ingrained into the culture of every senior housing community. Sadly, it's not!

  2. Simon Simunek
    Simon Simunek says:

    Great, I like your suggestions.
    I am looking forward to the tips on follow up.
    PS: We operate couple of adult family homes. We frequently put on the stove a cinnamon water to create a pleasant aroma in the home.

  3. Donna Cutting
    Donna Cutting says:

    Great article Debbie! Yes to all those things! However, you forgot one most important way to make an amazing first impression. Friendly, caring PEOPLE. When every team member in the building is trained to pro-actively welcome guests and prospective residents with a smile and professional, friendly greeting it makes the best first impression.

    The look of the property is important – but I want to know that the people there for my loved one are friendly, caring individuals.

    Teach your team to roll out the red-carpet for your guests and not only will you increase tour to move-in conversions, but your new residents and their families will tell everyone they know.

    • dhoward
      dhoward says:

      You are absolutely right Donna and that is included in Part 2 of this topic! The first part is all about physical first impressions and Part 2 is about the Experience including Preparation, Personalization and Team. For any community that has Part One down and can check all of the First Impressions boxes but lacks the warm, caring, fun and engaged spirit in the community, there is no better way to create that culture than with your Red Carpet training – it is the very best in the industry! Thanks for joining the conversation Donna, we are so glad to have you as a valued part of the Senior Living SMART community!


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  1. […] you missed Part 1 go to our website and see how important that first impression tour is to the potential client. Also […]

  2. […] you missed Part 1 & Part 2 of the series on how to convert tours into move-ins, go to our Website now and catch […]

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