Houston, Texas--When Judy Schmid moved to Eagle's Trace in July 2020, things at the West Houston community looked a little different, thanks to preventive measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
"I moved at a time when we couldn't visit in-person [due to social distancing], but I felt confident I was making a good decision," says Judy. Her confidence stems in part from the positive experience of her good friend Carole Payne, who moved in 2019 to Eagle's Trace, a senior living community developed and managed by Erickson Living.
"I've known Carole forever," says Judy. "Our husbands were students together at Texas A&M University, and then we were stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma when our husbands were in the service. I knew that Carole liked living at Eagle's Trace and highly recommended it. That was a big reason I decided to move."
While on-site appointments and smaller sales events have returned, word of mouth remains an enduring way to share experiences and disseminate information. A recommendation from a friend is one of the primary reasons people choose Eagle's Trace, according to Sales Director Pamela Burgeson.
"Many of our residents discover Eagle's Trace thanks to the suggestion of family or friends who live here," says Burgeson. "When a prospective resident knows just one person at the community, it can make all the difference in their decision to move."
Research supports the powerful influence of a friend's good word. According to the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, recommendations from friends and family are the most credible form of advertising, with 83% of respondents saying word-of-mouth recommendations influence their purchases.
"It's wonderful when residents share the lifestyle they enjoy at Eagle's Trace with family and friends," says Burgeson. "Although our resident referral program is not the reason our residents encourage their loved ones to consider Eagle's Trace, it's our way of thanking them for doing so."
A friend's advice
After Carole moved to Eagle's Trace in 2019, Judy visited her friend regularly at the West Houston community.
"We had lunch together in the restaurants on campus," says Judy. "I was impressed with Eagle's Trace. I liked the many amenities on campus, including the bank, the pharmacy, the medical center. Everything was so convenient."
As Judy began to plan her own move, Carole was a trusted voice to help her through the process.
"Carole used Lone Star Transitions [a senior move management company recommended through Erickson Realty and Moving Services] and had a wonderful experience," says Judy.
"I used them for my move, too, and can't say enough about the fantastic job they did. They made it easy, setting up my apartment so I could walk in and everything was done."
Shortly after she moved in, Judy was perusing the resident directory when she noticed some familiar names.
"I realized I know a few other people who live here," says Judy. "There are former neighbors and people I knew from Pine Forest Country Club."
Circle of friends
It was a case of history repeating itself, as Carole had the same experience when she moved to Eagle's Trace over a year ago.
Initially interested in Eagle's Trace for its amenities, maintenance-free lifestyle, and proximity to her children and grandchildren, it didn't take Carole long to realize just how many connections she had at the West Houston community.
"I was eager to learn more even before I realized how many people I know live at Eagle's Trace," says Carole, a native Houstonian. "There are people from my church, and people whose children went to school with my children. The couple who live in the apartment next door to mine went to junior high and high school with my husband and me."
Carole says seeing familiar faces has made her experience at Eagle's Trace even sweeter. "I've got so many friends here, there's not too many left for me to tell about Eagle's Trace," she says with a laugh. "I'd recommend it to anybody."
Written by Sara Martin
About Eagle's Trace: Eagle's Trace, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 72-acre campus in West Houston, Texas. The not-for-profit community of more than 960 residents and 500 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, Inc., who provide independent financial and operational oversight. Additional information can be found at EaglesTraceCommunity.com.