How to Game Online Reviews: Insider Data for Your Senior Living Community

Online Reviews

Online reviews can take time to manage, especially if your senior community doesn’t have a dedicated marketing or social media person. So how can you optimize your efforts and time to get the most return from online reviews? We analyzed the nearly 40,000 reviews on SeniorAdvisor.com to discover key insights that will help you focus on getting more of the reviews that matter most for your community: positive reviews. Read on to learn how to get more positive online reviews, who you should be asking to review your community, and which parts of the country have the most active reviewers.

What Tools Can You Use to Get More Positive Online Reviews?

First, let’s start with the good news: the average overall rating of reviews on SeniorAdvisor.com is 4.0 stars! This is great news because it indicates that the majority of people who are going online to review their senior communities are doing so to share their positive experiences, as a way to thank communities for all they’ve done, as well as to pay it forward and help other families looking for care.

Now, on to the even better news… reviews where the reviewer was invited by their community to review rate much higher than the overall average rating – a whopping 4.8 stars! As a community manager, you know better than anyone who loves your community – these are the people you should be asking to write online reviews! On SeniorAdvisor.com we offer several tools to help communities invite reviews – you can send direct email invitations asking for reviews, or you can print out a customized flyer to hand out to reviewers and display around your community. Both of these tools include a URL that sends reviewers directly to your community page on SeniorAdvisor.com where they can write an online review.

Reviews generated by flyers tend to perform very well, typically reaching that 4.8 overall rating on average. This is nearly 20% higher than the average overall rating given to communities on the site, so if you want to get positive reviews, flyers are the way to go. Download your community flyer now and start asking your residents, families, and tours to review your community.

Beautiful Senior Woman at Computer

Who Should You Be Asking to Review Your Community?

Another way to help ensure you get more positive reviews is by asking the right people. We found that family and resident reviews average a higher overall rating than reviews by people who tour (4.2 stars vs. 3.9 stars). This makes sense – people tend to write reviews at one or two touchpoints during the decision process: first they write reviews while they’re touring communities, then they go back and review the community they ultimately chose. When they write reviews for communities they’ve toured, they ultimately didn’t decide on this property, so it didn’t WOW them as much as they one they chose. Furthermore, once someone or their loved one has moved in to a property, the reviewer usually has many more positive details to add about their experience. Bottom line: If you want more positive reviews, ask your residents and their families to review!

Where Do Online Reviews Matter Most?

Some areas of the country have developed more of a senior living review culture than others. A review culture is a culture where people are more accustomed to writing reviews, and writing reviews about a specific industry in particular. Yelp has helped establish a review culture for local restaurants, just as TripAdvisor has done the same for the travel industry. Reviews are relatively new to the senior living space (compared to restaurants and hotels), but based on the data we’ve gathered of the top-reviewed cities, you can see where a burgeoning review culture is already underway in different parts of the country.

If your community is located in one of these states, and especially if you are in one of these cities, you should definitely be paying attention to your reviews.

Top-Reviewed Cities Top-Reviewed States
1. Houston, TX 1. California
2. San Antonio, TX 2. Texas
3. Dallas, TX 3. Georgia
4. Atlanta, GA 4. Florida
5. Portland, OR 5. Michigan
6. Austin, TX 6. Illinois
7. Mesa, AZ 7. Ohio
8. San Jose, CA 8. New York
9. Arlington, VA 9. Arizona
10. Charlotte, NC 10. Maryland
11. Fort Worth, TX 11. Pennsylvania
12. Albuquerque, NM 12. Washington
13. Columbus, OH 13. Virginia
14. San Diego, CA 14. Wisconsin
15. Los Angeles, CA 15. North Carolina

You might find it interesting to know that the nine most-reviewed states (California through Arizona) are also the states with the highest amounts of review responses from community managers. This is not a coincidence; it is further evidence that a review culture exists in these areas. In states with an active review culture, it is not only important that you take time to read your reviews, but that you also take time to respond. Get started responding to your online reviews for free on SeniorAdvisor.com today.

By focusing on the right people, and by asking them with the right tools, you can maximize your efforts to get more positive reviews for your community. How will you put these insights to work?

Based in Austin, TX, Amelia is the Content Marketing Manager for SeniorAdvisor.com. When she’s not writing about online reputation management, online reviews, and social media in the senior living space, she enjoys yoga and running with her dog Rockefeller. She graduated from Wellesley College cum laude with a dual degree in English and Medieval/Renaissance Studies.

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