Recently launching a new website with real-time transparent pricing and online leasing, Revel Communities, a division of The Wolff Co., is also innovating senior living with the rollout of a tiered resident membership model. With four membership tiers to be introduced across its 13 senior living communities, the plans will give residents the flexibility to shape their ideal lifestyle.
“At Revel, we are in service to our residents, and as the wants and needs of our senior population evolves, we strive to meet that challenge, by creating new approaches to our resident experience through innovation and empowerment,” says Danette Opaczewski, executive vice president, resident experience, and chief operating officer. “We’re proud to lead the senior living industry by creating transparent pricing models through our new website and moving away from the simple concept of ‘rent’ to a new membership model, which provides greater independence and additional choices for our residents to live life on their own terms.”
So far, tiered memberships have become available at Revel Palm Desert and Revel Vegas. To find out more about this new take on senior living and how the tiered membership model works, MFE asked Opaczewski for details.
MFE: How is Revel Communities moving toward pricing transparency?
Opaczewski: Our new website offers a unique way for prospective residents to shop for senior living options online. With features such as real-time pricing, availability and online leasing, our approach is focused on self-service, convenience, and price transparency, a new approach in the senior living industry. While we still have a direct hands-on sales approach with our prospects as well, this pricing model allows future residents to have better access to what the value proposition is for senior housing and demystify the benefits of an all-inclusive lifestyle.
MFE: What prompted the idea of a membership model?
Opaczewski: There has long been confusion about how pricing works in senior living. Often, 55-plus communities appear to be the “most affordable” option because you are strictly paying for your rent. In comparison to that pricing, Revel might appear more expensive at first glance. However, at Revel, our “rent” has always included the cost of not only the apartment home but also utilities, dining, programming, transportation, housekeeping, and maintenance. Our residents told us in our surveys that they felt like a “member” of a wonderful community, so the term “membership” speaks to the actual experience of living at Revel, which is much more than simply being a resident.
MFE: How have residents responded to the tiered memberships at Revel Palm Desert and Revel Vegas?
Opaczewski: Tiered membership is the ability to have various pricing options based on the number of points a resident wants to include in their monthly fee. This has given our residents choice and control over their personal finances, which sometimes gets harder to manage as we age. We have had very positive feedback about the tiered memberships. Residents are telling us that they love using points for other items in the community, like additional transportation and tickets purchased through the concierge. One resident at Revel Vegas mentioned that she loves that she can be selective over which experiences she has. She’s meeting her lifestyle goals and rediscovering her love for cooking. This program has also been well received by prospects; they say that this is unique compared to the offerings at our competitors. Overall, it allows us to offer residents even more flexibility and choice, which is important to us.
MFE: What led to the new website experience?
Opaczewski: We wanted to enhance the online experience for our prospects and residents. Our goal was to shift away from “brochureware” to a fully functioning platform. Not only can users learn about Revel, but they can also go so far as to lease an apartment online from across the country if they wanted to, which is practically unheard of in the senior living industry.
MFE: Are there any concerns of the aging population being able to use the new online self-service features?
Opaczewski: Studies have shown us that seniors, and especially the baby boomers who are now aging into our space, are more tech savvy than ever. Our residents and prospects are very comfortable with technology, whether they’re using social media or shopping online. At Revel, we are about choice and want to offer both a tech-forward leasing solution as well as a traditional, personalized sales experience. We strive to be best in class in both sales approaches.
MFE: What are some of the trends you’re seeing in independent living?
Opaczewski: Some of the trends we’ve been noticing are the unbundling of services for more choice in what is offered, incorporating more technology, offering some basic level of pricing transparency (as this is one of the biggest roadblocks to understanding the benefits and value of a senior living community), enhanced wellness offerings, and more of a focus on social media presence and digital marketing sales strategies.
MFE: What are some of the senior living challenges you're seeing and ways to overcome them?
Opaczewski: Our biggest challenge is educating the broader public on what senior living looks like today. We continue to battle against misconceptions that all senior living communities are either retirement or assisted living-style communities. We consider our communities a home where your lifestyle is worry-free. You can choose to participate in life in any way that you want and we are there in service to you. Our motto is “to create possibilities and inspire joy.”
MFE: Following the launch of the new site and model, what’s next for Revel Communities?
Opaczewski: We are currently focusing on innovative wellness, home health, and personalized lifestyle services that will be technology-forward. We are also broadening our food and beverage model to not only service our resident members but inviting customers from outside into our communities to be inspired by their dining experience. Our goal is to welcome people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy the Revel experience, and one day when they are ready to make a move into a community living environment, they will see the positivity and growth that can continue as we age, instead of hanging onto the negative perceptions of aging that exist today.