I think retirement communities are better than hotels!
I have been getting a lot of great feedback on the concept of senior living communities opening their doors to travelers! I feel pretty good about stumbling into a concept with such a positive response. Here are a few thoughts and ideas:
Good for economic reasons: Many communities around the country are having occupancy problems due to the challenging real estate market. Several people commented that the studio apartments, which many times are the most difficult for a community to rent to a resident might be ideal for travelers.
Good to share wisdom and connect the residents: Most people I have communicated with about this concept really support the mutual benefit of connecting travelers to residents. This has multiple benefits in addition to giving the community an “ageless” culture.
A great way to “test drive” a retirement community: Let’s face it, most people are a bit intimidated about making the move to a senior living community. If a community that you are interested had a “hotel” program, it could be a great way to get a taste of the community . . . who knows maybe your kids or grandkids might stay with you too!
It’s better than a hotel: I have discovered first hand that these communities are better neighborhoods that the ones I have lived in through my lifetime. There is no question that they have many features that make them better than the hotels I have stayed in. However, the best benefit is the people that live and work in these neighborhoods – even a traveller passing through for the night has the opportunity to experience the benefits.
I have several friends that take regular business trips out of town and end up staying in the same hotel in the same city each time. They feel lucky if the bartender is the same and remembers who they are. Imagine the relationships that could be formed if they made their stay at a retirement community instead! It would take a traveler with the right mindset, but they would be rewarded tremendously.
Tomorrow I head up to The Watermark at Logan Square to play around with the concept a bit. As always I will try to share my thoughts and insights.