The ISS Expo has long been the place to be for self-storage owners, managers and operators that are looking to stay (or become) relevant. No matter which tracks you chose, no matter when you came and left, there’s one thing about this year’s ISS Expo that can’t be denied. It was busy. Busy. BUSY! Of the sessions, the TPP team attended they were standing-room-only and stayed that way until the speaker was done.
This tells us three things. The industry is booming. The industry is hungry for more. The industry is ready to learn, change, and adapt. For businesses, this is the best place to be. Busy, Hungry, and Ready. Let’s dive-in and we’ll share what this means and how this played out during the expo last week.
Having a busy industry lends to a lot of questions. With demand being so strong, and supply starting to catch up it’s important to know how to run your business efficiently, profitably, and uniquely.
Improving the management hires and experience was one theme we saw. Many owners fail to realize how valuable their managers can be with the right hire and a little incentive they become profitable assets not just necessary labor.
Kiosks were another hot topic as all businesses transition into digitally transformed organizations. The self-storage industry will have to catch up or be left behind and kiosks are one way to make that happen, however, the benefits of a personal touch and a person to talk to seemed to have outweighed the efficiency of the kiosk for most this year.
Insurance may be the outlier for hot topics but it comes as no surprise to us. As facilities fill up and owners decide to expand or new owners join the fray they start to realize the importance of covering not only themselves but their tenants. Just five minutes spent imagining one worst-case scenario will get you thinking about how you can cover the expenses. Tenant property protection plans (the -better- alternative to insurance) are an essential way to cover assets but also introduce an opportunity to earn a profit.
We sent two of our best and brightest (Harry and Steve) to join a seminar called “All Questions Great and Small” With Jeffrey Greenberger and Stephanie Tharp. They sat in “Murderer’s Row” to help answer questions that pertained to their -and other expert’s- specific niche. Harry and Steve noted that the room was filled and stayed that way for the full hour and a half session! We know this wasn’t the only session that was full and stayed that way. Many spent the entire expo going between sessions, taking avid notes, and asking real, relevant questions. Whether you’re an experienced owner/operator or brand new, not-yet-broken-ground you were there to learn and stayed for it. We noticed many booth visitors staying to ask several questions and keeping our team busy and on their toes both days.
Wherever you’re at in your Self-Storage journey you’re ready for the next step. This industry is on the precipice of a digital transformation overhaul. Several of our visitors stayed to fill out lead sheets and wouldn’t leave without our number and a promise we would call. We’re seeing innovative refurbishing and new-build ideas from all over the map and they’re spreading like icing on a cake. The self-storage industry was ‘baking’ for decades, establishing solutions to many needs by providing extra room for people who need it. The cake has been baking away and digital transformation is ready to give it that beautiful finish! Kiosks, Protection plans, mobile apps, digital marketing, and so much more are bringing this industry into the ‘Science Fiction Era’. Self-Storage is ready to make decisions, get going, get better and get out there!
On Wednesday, our booth was so busy we almost forgot our cocktails. On Thursday we were asked some of the best questions we can remember being asked by so many visitors. Every year we are impressed with “The Old” and “The New” in Self-Storage.
Old friends. Returning veterans, learning more from those who have served many years in the industry as well as the up-and-comers who are just ahead of the new Mentoring sessions and workshops. For example, Ron Osborne sharing with newcomers “The Best Practices” in Self-Storage!
Many new people came to investigate the Self-Storage industry – some with personal or new funding plans. Others have started and are trying to fill in the blanks, especially several new, and developing “mom and pop” dreams and potential operations. Some coming from other businesses like the “Pete Look-alike guy” and his partner with movie theaters in Salem NH.
ISS Expo brought, as always, new and up-n-coming owners looking for new and better ways to operate a Self-Storage site. Our team enjoyed having this opportunity to answer all your amazing questions. It gave them a chance to shine.
We’ll be following up soon with Lil’ Pete’s take on the ISS Expo. We’d also love to hear your experience and feedback! Comment here or on our social pages and tell us your thoughts on the event of the Self-Storage year!