Aggregators: Good or Bad?
The last session of the event focused on self-storage aggregators and whether they help or harm to the industry. Mario Feghali, co-founder and chief operations officer of SpareFoot, and Nick Bilava, director of sales and marketing for USStorageSearch, took turns answering questions about how their websites work and what they provide to consumers and operations.
In self-storage, four large REITs control only 10 percent of the facilities, making the industry incredibly fragmented, Feghali said. Aggregators are useful for much of the other 90 percent, giving them a chance to compete in search engine optimization. Most self-storage-related searches return results from the REITs on the first page. The aggregator representatives believe their products give others a chance to get on the first page.
The Great Lakes Self Storage Owners Summit had previously taken place in Chicago suburbs or other downstate locations. The downtown location was designed as a destination event, intended to encourage people to travel and perhaps draw from other states. Though next year's location hasn't been announced, this one wowed attendees with tremendous views of the city from the terrace of the cocktail reception.