Whether you're new to the self-storage industry or have been around the block a time or two (or 20!), the upcoming Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Las Vegas will be packed with resources to help establish and improve your business. The show, taking place April 3-5 at the Paris Hotel & Resort, will include 40-plus seminars, four workshops, two days of exhibits and several networking events.
Below are insider show tips from Alex Koupal, ISS Expo events manager, global development. She talks about the all-new education program, which features experts with an array of backgrounds and experience. This year's presenters will delve deep on critical topics every owner, manager and investor should know. Read about some her favorites and get suggestions for your own expo experience!
The education component of the expo has evolved greatly over the past few years. How does this year’s lineup reflect what’s going on in the industry?
This year we wanted to make sure we were covering marketing from A to Z. In the past, we've provided sessions on topics such as search-engine optimization, social media, etc., but they weren't always comprehensive. A 50-minute seminar slot doesn't always provide enough time to dive deep into some of these strategies.
That’s why we launched our new comprehensive Marketing Workshop. Anne Ballard, aka "The Hat Lady," president of Universal Management Co., has teamed up with Stacie Maxwell, her director of marketing, and Christopher Baird, CEO of website and marketing development company Automatit Inc., to provide three hours of intensive marketing content. It should be a very informative session.
Self-storage continues to be a big draw to potential investors. What education opportunities are available for getting into the industry?
We have two tracks dedicated to those new to self-storage. The "Investor Essentials" track features sessions on feasibility, valuations, financing and the state of the transaction market. There’s also a "Building Blocks" track devoted to topics such as conversions, retrofitting, innovative site design and solar options. It will also include case study on building costs that will give anyone looking to build a facility a good idea of what to expect.
I suggest investors also attend a few sessions from the "Owner Essentials" and "Limiting Liability" tracks. Understanding legalities, insurance and what it takes to run a facility is necessary for someone new to the business.
The expo always includes seminars designed to help owners and managers improve their facilities. What’s in store at this year’s show?
This year we’ve tailored two full tracks to managers and owners. There are 10 sessions in each, covering topics such as budgeting, market domination, time management, sales, collections, social media, discounting and much more. In addition, we have a series of workshops: the Owner/Operator Executive Workshop, the Management Workshop, Legal Learning Live and, of course, our new Marketing Workshop.
Self-storage is growing in other countries as well. How has the show's international education evolved?
It has grown from a single panel session to a complete track of sessions addressing several well-formulated topics. It currently includes two panel discussions—one on operational challenges and another on investing and development—and two additional 50-minute sessions. One is a case study about opening facilities in Europe, and another covers marketing in virgin markets. I’m also looking to work with our international associations to have a few country-specific sessions during expo-hall hours.
Are there any other “can’t-miss” education opportunities you’d like to share?
The program is so diverse, it really depends on what education you’re seeking. A few new features I’m particularly excited about are:
- "Solving the Mystery of the Insurance Markets: Understanding Your Premiums and Terms," which is a panel session
- The entire International Track
- The new Marketing Workshop