Unlocking full beds: A care home’s guide to boosting occupancy

Care homes play a vital role in providing specialised care to the elderly and individuals with diverse personal care needs and medical conditions.

Maintaining high occupancy rates is vital for the financial health of care services. Unfilled beds not only represent lost income potential but also mean that individuals may not have their needs met.

As the demand for care homes continues to grow, the financial pressures on providers increases. Creating effective marketing strategies to target your ideal prospects and keep occupancy levels high needs a solid foundation of data.

In this article, we’ll explore how taking a data-driven approach to your marketing will increase enquiries and boost occupancy. Whether you’re a care home provider or part of a larger care home group, understanding these essential factors is crucial

Balancing technology and the personal touch: Navigating care home challenges

A lack of support and guidance, availability of information, limited online presence, and insufficient contact information, are just some of the challenges that care home prospects encounter.

It would be easy to assume, in a world where digital and online tools have become so prevalent, that these are the first port of call in all sectors. But the innate human desire for personal contact remains strong, especially when the buying decision is in any way an emotional one – which it definitely is for care homes.

Faye Thomassen, our Head of Marketing at Mediahawk, spends a lot of time analysing our data. She says “The telephone remains vital for many potential customers when conducting their research. In many sectors, telephone contact for research purposes is actually on the increase – and among those is the care home sector. According to figures from carehome.co.uk, the UK care home sector spans more than 17,000 facilities nationwide. And while as a whole, the UK’s population may be aging, the sheer number of facilities means that competition between them for residents will be strong.”

Unlocking care home success with data-driven strategies

Speech analytics report.Care homes play a crucial role in overcoming these challenges. Gaining insights into the needs and challenges of your target audience is key to this. Identify common questions and concerns by analysing the calls and enquiries you’re receiving to understand what your prospects are asking about.

Armed with this knowledge, you can create content and target marketing activity that resonates with your prospects and helps you perform better. Our Head of Client Services at Mediahawk, Colin Hudson, agrees. “Each prospect’s journey is unique, so tailor your approach to meet their specific needs. By providing valuable content, understanding your audience, and fostering trust, care homes can steer prospects toward making informed decisions.”

We’ve examined the role of various online and offline sources in generating care home enquiries and move-ins. Data from our own software shows how the marketing landscape is changing for care homes.

It clearly shows the importance for care homes of gaining maximum visibility of the performance of their digital marketing activity through software such as call tracking and marketing analytics. This enables them to attribute inbound enquiries – and revenue – to specific areas of marketing activity.

Case study: Barchester Healthcare significantly increased the occupancy from their paid search calls
Using call tracking data from Mediahawk, Barchester has been able to refine their paid search campaigns. The insights they get from the platform enabled them to re-allocate budget to keywords that lead directly to move-ins. They are now in the enviable position of knowing that a significant number of telephone enquiries originating from paid search result in a move-in.

Harnessing the power of data to increase enquiries

Taking a data-driven approach to your strategy is crucial for increasing enquiries.

The right key performance indicators (KPIs) will reveal areas for improvement and highlight your successes. These carefully chosen, but insightful, metrics uncover a great deal about how your marketing is performing:

GBP on a laptop monitor.

  • Client acquisition by channel: How effectively are you bringing in new enquiries that convert to move-ins? Is there a channel that’s outperforming the rest?
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA) by channel: What is your cost per move-in? Calculating this by channel helps you understand your most cost-effective marketing sources.
  • Visitor to call ratio: This is the number of web visitors against the number of phone calls generated by the website. This ratio is an indicator of user intent – a higher ratio suggests strong intent and that visitors are actively seeking information or assistance. A low ratio suggests that visitors are not converting to phone calls which indicates that users are not finding what they’re looking for.
  • Revenue and return on investment (ROI): As well as knowing what your revenue is as a total figure, break it down by channel. Attributing revenue to the correct marketing channels gives you better insight into which is generating a higher ROI.
  • Occupancy by channel: Which channels yield the best results for your occupancy levels? This is important to know, so that if occupancy starts to dip, you can immediately adapt your strategy to boost it back up.
  • Referral rate: Look in detail at referrals from your partners and directories, such as Autumna, and carehome.co.uk. Track the enquiries, the number of successful move-ins, and revenue generated from each of these sources to really understand how well they’re performing for you.

These KPIs help you delve a little deeper into the performance of your channels, giving you the insights you need to formulate a marketing strategy that will help you target the right audiences and deliver the results you need.


Understanding the factors that influence enquiries, move-ins, and occupancy will help you streamline your marketing spend, ensuring that you’re reaching your target audience.

By adopting a proactive approach, leveraging data-driven insights, and creating a welcoming environment, care homes can increase enquiries and build lasting relationships with those seeking quality care.

About the author - Natalia Selby

Marketing Executive at Mediahawk, with 20 years experience in analytics and content management.

Mediahawk care homes trends report spring 2024.
Four key trends care home marketers need to know right now

Download our latest report and get the insights you need to help guide your care home marketing strategy, and increase enquiries and move-ins.

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