Caring.com Research Reveals New Trends for How Consumers Search Senior Housing on the Web
Caring.com research reveals new trends in consumer behavior when searching for senior housing on the Internet
San Mateo, CA; May 29, 2014 — According to a new survey by Caring.com, a leading senior care resource for family caregivers in the United States, today’s consumers are not using company names or industry terms when they begin searching for senior housing. Instead, they are starting with terms such as “senior care” or “assisted living” and relying on reviews to help them decide on a next step. The survey of 2,274 individuals was conducted in April 2014.
Following are the key points that surfaced in the survey:
- Web searches don’t begin with industry terms or company names. When consumers begin a web search, they are typically unaware of providers that offer the senior housing and care services they need, so their searches start with broad terms. Only 15% of people searching for a senior housing community begin their search by typing in a company or community name and going to its web site, whereas 73% start with a general term such as “Assisted Living.” Of those starting with a general search term, 21% then looked for a directory or comparison site, 23% visited web sites of senior communities they were familiar with and 29% went to all of the sites that turned up, beginning with the first one.
- Customer reviews matter. Asked where the best senior care information is found, 78% of respondents reported “the company’s customers.” Conversely, 25% believe the best information comes from “the company itself.”
- Third party senior care websites top the list of most trusted sources for reviews. Of those surveyed, 43% reported they trusted senior care website reviews, 22% trusted reviews on individual community sites. At the bottom of the trusted sources are general sites (e.g., Yelp) with 10% and social sites (e.g., Facebook, Google+) with 6%.
The survey also confirmed what many industry leaders already know: 60% of senior care and housing decision-makers are aged 50 to 69 and nearly three-quarters of them are female. In other words, the primary market for senior housing and care companies is still Baby Boomer women who rely on the Internet as a resource for caregiving options.
“Consumers who used to rely on physicians or hospital case managers for information about senior care and housing are now educating themselves via online research prior to contacting a community or care provider,” said Andy Cohen, CEO of Caring.com. “They begin searching the same way they search for a car to buy, a mortgage refinance, or travel arrangements.” Cohen stresses senior housing companies and care providers still need an excellent website. However, research indicates good reviews on third party sites are becoming more important than ever. Senior housing operators who are able to embrace new and emerging portals for customers will also be among the first to tap them as resources.