Case Study / Resident Survey Holiday Retirement

"I don't let anyone talk to me about a community without my first pulling up Activated Insights on my computer"
- Lilly Donahue, CEO

About Holiday Retirement

With over 200 communities, Holiday Retirement is one of the largest operators of independent living communities in the U.S. Its mission is "we're in the business of helping older adults live better." New CEO Lilly began repositioning Holiday and began working with Activated Insights in 2017, first on associate engagement and later adding resident engagement as well.

Lilly Donahue


participation rate

Executive Summary

Holiday Retirement approached its resident survey with a lot of doubt. Even though more than 80% of Holiday's associates gave regular feedback through Activated Insights, Holiday was doubtful that its residents would feel the same way. Participation had never been higher than 25% on past resident surveys. The Holiday team was thrilled when 86% of residents and almost 40% of family members participated in its first survey. Moreover, with clear ties to referrals and occupancy, Holiday's different REIT owners were impressed with the ability to see resident satisfaction scores within their own portfolios of communities.

Holiday Retirement Logo


Holiday Retirement


Prior to working with Activated Insights, Holiday struggled to measure resident engagement and tie it to operating and sales metrics. Challenges included:

  • Paper surveys took a lot of time and tabulating results took weeks. Running an online survey internally yielded low participation and did not come with industry expertise or comparisons.
  • Management had no centralized source of information for analysis and planning.
  • Holiday could not tie results at the community or department level to other key performance metrics, such as occupancy, move-outs, or profitability.

How Activated Insights Helped 

Working with Activated Insights offered Holiday a robust system and process for collecting both resident and employee feedback. As CFO Tyler Nelson stated, "it is helpful having it all in one place."

  • Despite fears of an online survey process, Holiday achieved 86% resident participation.
  • The Insights platform offered immediate feedback and solutions.
  • The results were easy to access, understand, and use by community General Managers and their Regional Directors. Moreover, Holiday shared operating data with Activated Insights, who was able to quickly correlate them to the community level.


Holiday immediately used its resident feedback data for internal accolades, operating improvements, and ROI (return on investment) analyses.

  • Even before any training, Holiday's leadership team had already logged in and navigated through its resident and family survey results. "The system is very intuitive," said one Holiday manager.
  • Within a month of the survey closing, residents were invited to resident meetings about their community's results and appreciated hearing some of the plans underway for the gaps that they had noted in their surveys.
  • In the Support Center, Holiday's team tied resident feedback to occupancy. When split into higher versus lower customer engagement score (CES) communities, a 2-3% occupancy difference was immediately discernible, even after just one survey.