The Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Washington, D.C., wrapped up on Oct. 8 after four days of valuable seminars, a lively self-storage Q&A, a packed cocktail reception and two days of exhibit-hall action. Nearly 1,000 registered participants from around the globe gathered at the beautiful Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.
Attendees—owners, investors, managers, builders, brokers and others―hailed from all segments of the industry. The expo also drew people from around the globe, representing countries including Australia, China, Russia and South Africa. Attendees sought real-world strategies to build or sustain their storage business in today’s difficult economic times.
Marketing Education Lures Attendees
The expo kicked off with an opening session focused on self-storage marketing, a hot topic at this year’s show. Hosted by Derek Naylor of Storage Marketing Solutions and Mel Holsinger of Professional Self Storage Management, the presentation shared campaigns submitted by self-storage managers and operators to the recent ISS “Best in Self-Storage Marketing” contest.
The presentation included examples of creative print, radio, TV and Internet marketing campaigns. Among them were the “Naked Storage” video submitted by second-place winner Andrew Emory, and an eight-piece print-ad campaign submitted by third-place winners Stephanie and Joe Tharpe, managers of Lock Box Self Storage in St. Juliet, Tenn.
Derek Naylor (left) and Mel Holsinger (right) with Terri Gavins, first-place winner of the ISS "Best in Self-Storage Marketing" contest, at the ISS Expo in Washington, D.C.
First-place winner Terri Gavins, senior manager of Storage Center of Southwood in Tallahassee, Fla., was also recognized during the presentation. She was awarded $1,000 for her multi-faceted campaign comprising an overlapping newsletter, e-mail marketing, YouTube video (facility tour) and a grand-opening community event.
The impressive and creative campaigns illustrated the upgraded role marketing plays in attracting new self-storage tenants. “Marketing in the self-storage industry is no longer a luxury or passive activity,” Naylor says. “It’s an essential part of every successful operator’s game plan. The fact that ISS put such an emphasis on marketing tells me they’re paying attention to what operators need to hear and not hanging on to old topics that are no longer as relevant as they once were.”
The marketing track, one of three concurrent tracks, often had standing-room only as attendees clamored for new strategies to market their businesses. Other popular seminar topics included new construction and development, financing in today’s tough market, boosting facility sales, green building, and improving day-to-day facility operations.
“The ISS Expo in Washington, D.C. far exceeded my expectations in terms of attendance and quality of attendees,” Naylor says. “It’s no secret the economy is tough right now. If companies are willing to make an investment in furthering their education, they’re definitely a lot more serious about it than I’ve seen at previous shows.”
The two-day exhibit hall featured nearly 100 exhibitors from all facets of the industry including self-storage developers and builders, brokers, finance and insurance experts, door manufacturers, software vendors, and more.
Terry Campbell, vice president of sales and marketing for BETCO Inc., hailed the show as one of the year’s best. “The people who were there were quality people, and it’s actually less taxing on the vendors to deal with the decision-makers instead of others who don’t sign the checks,” he says. “We have gotten good results from the ISS shows, and that is why we were one of the major sponsors at this show and continue to do a lot of work with the folks at ISS.”
Software vendors particularly enjoyed quality leads during the show. “The Washington, D.C., expo was beneficial for us,” says John Fogg, general manager for Sentinel Systems Corp. Despite the slowdown in new construction, Fogg says Sentinel staff met with several quality prospects who are developing new properties.
Las Vegas Expo 2010
With the fall show behind us, all eyes are now on the annual ISS Expo in Las Vegas, the industry’s largest conference and tradeshow. The event will take place March 1-3, 2010, at the Paris Hotel & Resort.
This year’s theme, “When the going gets tough, the tough turn to the ISS expo,” acknowledges storage professionals’ challenges in today’s economy. The education program will include 36 seminars that address those challenges directly, broken into four detailed tracks.
- Facility Marketing & Sales
- Construction, Development & Green Initiatives
- Finance, Insurance & Legal Issues
- Day-to-Day Facility Management
In addition, the show will include four intensive workshops: Legal Learning Live with Jeffrey Greenberger, Management Workshop with Joe Niemczyk, Developers Seminar with RK Kliebenstein, and the popular Marketing and Sales Boot Camp with Tom Litton. Owners and managers can take advantage of a new Premium Package that includes the complete education program as well as “Management and Marketing Day” at a special discount rate.
As usual, attendees will enjoy multiple networking events and two days of product and service exhibits by the industry’s top suppliers.
Join us in Las Vegas for the biggest show of the year, and get the information and resources you need to get through the tough times. For details and to register, visit www.insideselfstorageworldexpo.com.