By Amy Campbell
When it comes to marketing, operators of boat- and RV-storage facilities face many of the same challenges as traditional self-storage operators—namely budget restraints and maximizing new strategies. However, there is one significant difference: the tenant. While self-storage operators can market to any person or business in their target area, the boat/RV-storage operator must target a very specific type of customer. That’s why careful marketing is such a critical component of every boat/RV-storage operation’s success.
One advantage boat/RV-storage operators have is their geographic market is larger than that of a typical self-storage facility, which has often been defined as a 5-mile radius around the property. Many boat/RV-storage tenants will drive 20 miles or more from their homes to store their vehicles. They choose a facility based on location, regardless of its distance from their homes. Facilities along highways or near bodies of water and recreation areas are a natural selection for boat/RV-storage tenants who don’t wish to haul their recreational vehicles over long distances.
Lake Havasu RV & Boat Storage of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., is a good example. Located near the popular lake and just outside the resort town, the facility has retained a lengthy waiting list of customers over the years. About 85 percent of its tenants live up 2,800 miles away.
Another advantage boat/RV-storage operators enjoy is a longer average tenant stay. While traditional self-storage customers stay just under a year, the average rental for a boat/RV-storage unit is two years. This is important when it comes to amortizing marketing costs to attract new tenants.
While security and convenience play key roles in traditional storage, the boat/RV-storage customer is looking for more. Operators who offer flexible hours fare better than those with restricted access. Most tenants want 24/7 access to their vehicles, so while security should be stringent, it should also be accessible. Individual gate codes, unit alarms, fire-sprinkler systems, and an abundant amount of video surveillance put renters at ease.
These tenants are also attracted to amenities such as wash bays, a retail store stocked with boat/RV-specific items, electrical outlets, a dump station or a cleaning service. Add-on services such as these will attract new customers and keep current ones coming back.