What Is Your Experience Proposition?

What Is Your Experience Proposition?

Today’s consumer is different. They will spend more time and money and demonstrate consumer loyalty – not just for value – but also for the EXPERIENCE. Just look at the success of the Apple Store, Publix Supermarkets, and Virgin Airlines. Even though with a few clicks you can order the latest IPad on the Internet – customers will wait in line to buy direct from the Apple Store. Why? They have a solid Experience Proposition.

The Experience Proposition defines the top and most effective ways to:

  1. Generate Leads
  2. Close Sales
  3. Retain Customers
  4. Distinguish yourself from the competition

In the Senior Living industry – where eight out of ten activity calendars are identical, where the amenities are typical, and the brochures all offer quality, personalized services – what is your Experience Proposition?

The first step is defining your Experience Proposition, and then equally important is how you communicate to your leadership, community teams and customers. Once defined, your Experience Proposition should drive your operating strategy, systems, and daily activities needed to deliver this distinctive customer experience.

As you are defining your Experience Proposition – consider these 4 areas of differentiation:

1. Operations:

When operations are the primary point of difference, the focus is on operational excellence in one or more of the following areas:
–  Consistency – Think of the original Sunrise model
–  Price  – Systems and standards are in place to manage expenses offering an affordable and comfortable no frills alternative

2. Service & Hospitality:

Emphasizes the personal interaction between guests, residents and staff members. Focus is on providing remarkable service in a warm, friendly and caring way that results in building positive relationships and loyalty.

3. Product:

The primary aim is to deliver a unique or uncommon experience. Examples include a unique lifestyle proposition, technology enhancements, or amenities.

4. Location:

Here the focus is on enhancing or emphasizing the Community’s distinctive location, surroundings, views and/or atmosphere. Examples include communities located in a downtown location with access to restaurants, shopping, medical services, and entertainment or an idyllic ocean view retreat.

So often communities focus solely on occupancy and do not spend time developing their identity and then turning that into their Experience Proposition. If you get your Experience Proposition right and continually invest in it – eventually you won’t need to spend on advertising or engage in rate wars with your competition. Your future and current residents, families and associates will remain loyal, they’ll refer (even promote) you to others and more importantly they won’t mind paying a premium price.



  1. Cheryl Bartholomew Says: August 18, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    As a member of the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) and a certified Senior Fitness Instructor and entrepreneur for fourteen years, I believe it is time to change our model of care from one of “illness” to one of “prevention”. It is time for senior living communities to budget for professional senior fitness instructors to offer beneficial functional fitness in house, on a daily basis. Fitness is the foundation of wellness. Classes address many dimensions of Wellness (social, physical, intellectual, emotional and more). Boomers are not interested in moving into communities that offer “illness” care; they want to live life with purpose and to have opportunities to shape their destiny. Ownership of their health is important to them. It is time to supplement rehab with opportunities with functional fitness classes offered on a daily basis. Residents want to remain productive and are looking for senior care that offers fall prevention, strength and stretch classes and creative yet age-appropriate aerobic stimulation. Since exercise is the number one pillar of brain health; it is a great marketing tool and benefits all levels of care. As the former Director of Fitness and Lifestyle in a senior living community I have experienced first hand the difference focusing on fitness can make for residents and staff alike. The change is long overdue.

  2. Sheryl Sodorff Says: April 9, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Andrea, you are so right on about the Experience Proposition. People buy from people. They want to have a relationship! So many of the marketing materials look alike with the same standard pictures and the same language. I do lots of outreach and I take notes of the things that stand out to me when visiting a community that are unique, often very simple, but very important and helpful to their residents. We are always working on this and really need to actually produce a plan of how we are going to deliver positive relationships and loyalty. The occupancy will come with a WOW experience. Too often organizations do not spend the time with their team members on this subject of delivering a consistent customer experience and what that means. I look forward to what others are doing or are wanting to develop. Too often our industry does not "walk their talk."

    • Sheryl,

      I'm thrilled you enjoyed our blog and appreciate the great feedback. We hear many communities talk about the "WOW experience" and what they can do to deliver. Senior Living SMART hopes to provide these communities with the knowledge and resources that enables them to do so. Thanks again!

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