Offering Online Reservations to Self-Storage Customers: Knowing the Options, Choosing a Partner

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With this kind of model, you need to ask: What kind of customer do I want to attract? Make this choice understanding that your company may have to offer the lowest price to attract the customer, and even then you may pay for an extremely price-sensitive customer who moves out at the first opportunity. Bottom line: The emphasis on the lowest cost means you may miss out on the best customers.
 
Security First

As you sift through your options for an online-reservations partner, beware of new companies popping up online. If a company seems to appear almost out of nowhere, it may go away just as quickly. Approach your online-network decision as a partnership and choose a company you trust to access to your database.

Once you’ve checked into a company’s track record and verified trustworthy references, you’re ready to ask some tough questions to protect your data, such as:

  • Who is accessing my data? 
  • What are they accessing and how?
  • Do they have the proper security measures in place? 
  • Are they storing credit card data?  If so, is the process secure?

Important Safeguards

An online reservation involves being able to show available units with their features, prices and current specials to prospective customers. It allows customers to commit to a rental by putting down a small deposit online, securing the unit until they can come into the facility to complete the purchase. The process doesn’t require access to existing-customer information within your system. If a network requests access to that information, it’s a red flag, as it’s simply not necessary to process an online reservation.

Your management software may already have controls in place to restrict access for your online partner. If controls are not built in, it’s even more important you have a trustworthy and proven relationship with your online-reservation partner

While digging into all the pros and cons of online reservations may feel like homework, it’s well worth your time. It’s important to grow your storage business with online partners that meet the needs of your operation and customers. When you identify an online partner, make sure the security of your data is a top priority. With guaranteed peace of mind, you’ll be ready to maximize your profit with online storage reservations.
 
Megan Eckert is executive vice president of USstoragesearch.com, which provides service to more than 12,000 member facilities and 2.8 million storage units nationwide. The company’s online marketing program allows owner-operators to put their facilities in front of potential tenants looking for storage in their area.  For more information, call 866.880.0742; visit www.usstoragesearch.com.

Related Articles:

The Internet as the Best Self-Storage Storefront: Online Payments, Rentals and Account Management

Building and Marketing a Successful Self-Storage Website

Internet Marketing: Get Started on the Right Foot

Self-Storage Talk: Online Rentals

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