We’ve been talking about the latest funeral trends and predictions for a while. Now it’s time to get some feedback from someone who has been in the field and seen these changes firsthand.
That’s why we recently spoke with retired funeral director Don MacIntosh about rising funeral trends. From what started as him working at his best friend’s father-in-law’s funeral home doing maintenance work, he worked his way up to becoming a licensed funeral director. He finished his funeral profession career as a director of operations overseeing multiple facilities in the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach, Florida area.
Throughout the 27 years that he worked in the funeral profession, he has seen many changes. He shared with us some insight on what he’s seen and how he thinks it will impact the funeral profession.
Throughout the years working in the funeral profession, what major changes/trends did you notice over time?
The Catholic Church recognized cremation services without a casket present which was the biggest change we experienced. More women entering the profession was another big change, and a good one.
In terms of future funeral trends, what do you think the major changes will be?
Changes have already come to our area. SCI (Service Corporation International) built a 9,000-square-foot event center west of our area and they are enjoying a brisk business. This is a beautiful facility designed like a hotel lobby with a main chapel set up like a dining room. It’s capable of hosting a funeral service while serving meals and beverages, or just hosting an event of any kind, on its own.
As an officiant I’ve participated in one of these a couple months ago. The old saying of “adapting to the needs of your customer” will ensure survival and funeral services as known in the past are becoming more of a personal experience for the family, rather than a religious ritual. Weddings, engagement parties, and special events usually held at hotels and country clubs are now being held in this facility.
How do you think technology will continue to impact the funeral profession?
Videos have replaced poster boards with photographs. Cremation is definitely here to stay and I believe will be the focus of more change in personalization in the future. Urns and plaques will take a back seat to digital memorialization.
What advice do you have for funeral directors trying to adapt to these new changes in the funeral profession?
Change is like death, it’s inevitable. Leave all egos at the front door when you meet a family for the first time, and when saying goodbye the last time. Serve at every level, opening doors or emptying trash cans is as important as making arrangements with a family or driving the lead car.
What are your predictions for future funeral trends? Share them with us in the comments!