Re: Expert Opinions wanted
- In the "search for retirement communities" search tool, it is not clear what the user is supposed to input for "overall rating". Would anybody look for a community with a low rating? Probably best to eliminate this search criteria, and just display the ratings of the communities that are returned from the search.
- In the "search for retirement communities" search tool, it is not clear if selecting "planned communities-yes" is an additive function or if it would exclude non-planned communities. Recommend adding a "both planned and non-planned" selection. There's a similar issue with the "activities"--if I select "golf", will all entries without golf be screened out?
- Under "activities" consider adding a check-box for "General Aviation". "Fly-in" communities are growing in popularity. It is still a niche market, but might be worth adding.
- Transportation: I think many retirees who are considering moving away from their kids/family will want to know about the cost of air travel. This often boils down to figuring out if a major hub or a competitively serviced airport is within driving distance. Simply listing the distance to the nearest airport usually doesn't provide a whole lot of info about costs, especially if the airport is served by only a few carriers who can charge a lot. It might be useful to run a few quick searches for a set of standards sample destinations to see how the costs compare, then post a quick blurb on the results. This info would probably have to be reviewed every year or two. (Travelocity works okay, since you can tell it to look at all airports within a specified distance--most folks would be willing to drive 60-90 miles to pick up relatives travelling from out of state)
- I found the site easy to use. Content was sparse (e.g. no listings in the BEAUTIFUL state of Ohio!), but I anticipated that from your intro.
- From a "business plan" perspective, my guess is that the chalenge will be to keep folks coming to your site. After people pick a spot to retire, they will not likely come back to your site--doing so will increase cognitive dissonance, and people don't like that. So, somehow in the increasingly noisy infosphere, you'll need to get the word out about your site to folks who are thinking about relocating for retirement so you can get a constant flow of new participants. They'll likely come for a visit or two over a few weeks/months, then be gone. (For the same reson, I think keeping the discussion boards active will be a challenge. People will pop in, ask a few questions about a particular area, and be gone. Will anyone be interested enough to form a cadre of regular posters with a vested interest in keeping the boards interesting and in actually answering the questions posted?) Still, the folks you do get will have recurring needs (moving companies, referrals for all kinds of services when they relocate, eventual long term care concerns, etc). These are all potential markets for you, if you can find a way to push info to the popel who have stopped by your site, or to get them to come back periodically based on some enticement (e.g. new info posted on a subject in which they have expressed an interest, etc).