|The Inside Scoop|
Habla Self-Storage? Industry Operators and Vendors Go Bilingual
Over the past several weeks, I've noticed several self-storage companies—some facility operators and some vendors—have launched Spanish versions of their U.S.-based websites. It's not surprising. Spanish speakers represent significant buying power, and self-storage operators want to tap this burgeoning consumer segment. Here are some facts you should know:
- The Hispanic population of the United States was 50.5 million as of April 1, 2010, making people of Hispanic origin the nation's largest ethnic or race minority. Hispanics constituted 16.3 percent of the nation's total population. (Source: The Hispanic Population: 2010, 2010 Census Briefs)
- The U.S. Hispanic population increased 43 percent between April 1, 2000, and April 1, 2010. That's four times the nation's 9.7 percent growth rate.
- The Hispanic population of the United States is expected to reach 132.8 million by July 1, 2050, constituting 30 percent of the nation's population. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau News Room, An Older and More Diverse Nation by Midcentury)
- As of 2010, only Mexico (112 million) had a larger Hispanic population than the United States (50.5) million. (Source: International Database)
- As of 2009, 35 million U.S. residents age 5 and older spoke Spanish at home. At the time, that number constituted 12 percent of U.S. residents. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 American Community Survey: Table B16001)
The trends suggest the Hispanic community is growing and will continue to represent a larger portion of your target market. Can you afford to leave money on the table by failing to communicate in a way that attracts this audience? Some of your colleagues and competitors have already answered this question for themselves, responding in Spanish!
Atlanta-based Storage Post Self Storage, with facilities in Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York, launched a Spanish-language version of its website and mobile website. The company worked with Syntes Language Group Inc. to do the translation. The operator now hopes to attract and serve a broader audience. “We want to ensure that Storage Post products and services are being communicated to a range of potential customers," said Susie O'Connell, vice president of communications. Storage Post plans to increase its marketing and communication strategies toward the Spanish-speaking public.
Self-storage management and consulting firm Better Management Systems also launched a fully integrated Spanish-language website. The company began working on self-storage projects in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2004, with the goal of adapting American-style self-storage to the local Brazilian culture. Since then, the company has created a business model that can be adapted to any region of the world.
Last week Storage.com, part of the USstoragesearch.com Self Storage Network of websites, launched a Spanish version of its mobile website. "Storage.com acknowledges the common communication obstacles facing people with Spanish as their primary language," according to a press release. When users first open the website on their mobile devices, the homepage will be displayed in English (unless the site can accurately detect Spanish as the default language). A drop-down in the upper right corner of the home page will allow users to change the language from English to Spanish.
Here at ISS, we're aiming to create resources for a Spanish-speaking audience. This year's ISS Expo in Las Vegas included education sessions in Spanish as well as a presentation by the Latin America Self Storage Association. (Copies of these sessions can be purchased via the Inside Self-Storage Store: Operación y Gestión de Instalaciones and Desarrollo y Construcción.) We hope to provide more Spanish content for our readers and attendees, including a possible Spanish translation of ISS magazine.
Does your company make efforts to accommodate Spanish speakers, whether it be on its website, in its marketing or in person? Do any of your managers speak Spanish? If so, has it improved your business? Please share your experience on the blog.
Want to learn more? Read the article "Online Self Storage Marketing for the Growing Hispanic Market."