Are there any secrets to marketing boat/RV storage? The answer is right under our nose. Boat and RV renters want secure, hassle-free storage, and they want a long-term relationship. Here are some creative ideas to better market your facility:
The wash. Purchase a portable power washer, stepladder, squeegee and tire-dressing solutions and wash every boat, car, motorhome or other vehicle every month. Boat and RV customers absolutely love this service and will rave to their friends about it.
The power washer simply removes surface dirt, dust and accumulated grime. After spraying the vehicle down, immediately squeegee the windows so they remain waterspot-free. Lastly, swipe a tire dressing, such as Armor All, on the tires and dry any other remaining water accumulations. Most maintenance personnel can wash 50 vehicles per day, depending on the size of the vehicle. During the important summer months, this service is invaluable to customers.
When marketing and advertising boat/RV storage, be sure to emphasize that this service is included free with each rental. This information should be on your Yellow Pages ad, website and any fliers.
More power. A few innovative boat/RV-storage marketers install electrical outlets to accommodate motorhomes. This allows them to offer trickle chargers free of charge or on a rental basis to motorhome renters. They love this service because, in many cases, especially during long periods of inactivity, the batteries run down and must be recharged. A facility in Gilroy, Calif., offers this feature and it rarely has a vacancy in its motorhome spaces.
Bigger space. Many of us fail to see that we all are in the boat/RV-storage business. Because of the current economic crisis, many facilities now have 10-by-25 and 10-by-30 storage spaces sitting empty. These idle units are producing no income as standard storage, but what about as covered boat/RV spaces? Some astute self-storage marketers are offering them as the ultimate in clean, safe and secure vehicle storage.
The spaces can be marketed this way by giving renters special pricing for a limited time, such as six months. New rental contracts can always be reviewed and renegotiated at the end of the term. This has strong appeal during the winter months when parking a boat or vehicle out of the elements is more desired by the consumer.
Get referrals. Self-storage facilities get phone calls every week inquiring about boat/RV parking. Approximately one in 10 self-storage facilities has purpose-built, boat and vehicle parking. The question is, are you cultivating a relationship with your competitors to send you these inquiries, and are you paying them for it?
If the answer is no, you’re overlooking a very important marketing tool: referrals. Self-storage facilities turn away these calls every day. The only way to get your competitors to keep sending you referrals is to actively cultivate these relationships.
Every time a competitor sends you a customer, you should reward, thank and encourage him to do it again! Be creative. Every new referral should become more lucrative. For example, if he sends one referral, send a $10 gift card or cash. On the second referral, send a $20 gift card or cash. On the third, send a gift certificate for dinner at Outback Steakhouse, etc. Referrals are valuable; don't waste them.
Marketing is hard work and must be coupled with innovation and sprinkled with creativity. Think outside the box and get busy renting storage spaces.
Tom Litton is the president of Lodi, Calif.-based Litton Property Management Inc., which specializes in self-storage and provides manager training, seminars, manuals, instructional guides, development, feasibility and management consulting. Litton is a well-known industry expert and professional seminar presenter. For more information, call 209.334.3800; visit www.littonmanagement.com.