A Manager’s View of the ISS Expo
By Gina Six Kudo
The recent Inside Self Storage World Expo in Las Vegas last week was buzzing like a beehive. My first and foremost goal of attending the expo this time around was to determine the absolute best products and services available at the best pricing for our facilities. From the crowds on the tradeshow floor I can tell you, I was far from alone in my quest. The booths were packed full of people with questions.
I had agreed to host a roundtable on the first day, which is an opportunity for attendees, vendors and other storage professionals to meet for an hour on a more intimate basis. I had a lot of fun, despite the late afternoon hour. By 5 p.m., your brain is really on overload. The amount of information disseminated through the various sessions is copious and almost impossible to absorb. With that said, we still managed to have a great time discussing our roundtable topic, cheap and free marketing techniques. The sharing and ideas that transpired through the very short hour were amazing.
At this point, we still had two more days ahead of us to try to garner as much information as our brains would hold. I sincerely wish more owners and managers were present. The people we were surrounded by made the expo simply amazing.
Day two brought a day full of seminars, ideas and information sharing. It was hard to choose between the offerings. I hop scotched through a couple of time blocks so I could get a taste of each presentation. The Self-Storage Q&A session was packed and, as always, fun-filled thanks to the moderators Jim Chiswell and Mel Holsinger. But the wonderful thing is that each question posed was met with many varying viewpoints and helpful hints for all to consume. The day culminated with a wonderful cocktail party where the Self-Storage Talk members, seasoned and newbies alike, had the opportunity to mingle and munch. Although the day was long, the cocktail hour (and a half) flew by way too quickly.
On the third and last day, Mel Holsinger presented a workshop for managers, the exhibit hall was open again and John Carlisle was signing up more SST members. I wandered the hall and spoke with many vendors. I also attended the online marketing workshop by Eric Shanfelt. We all got our money's worth from Eric; so much so the session went well over the allotted time frame. I was able to gather so much, and yet there were other offerings I missed out on.
Inside Self-Storage also launched its new membership program during the show to provide the many services we have collectively been requesting tied up in neat packages. More to come on this, but if you receive the e-mail newsletter you're already in the know. If not, sign up, it's free.
All in all, everyone was tired, but simultaneously pumped full of new ideas and new resources; and looking forward to returning home to implement them as soon as possible. Welcome to all of the new SST members and please keep in mind when on the forum, the only dumb question is the one that goes unasked.
Gina Six Kudo is the general manager of Cochrane Road Self Storage in Morgan Hill, Calif. She has more than 15 years of self-storage experience, and a strong customer-service and sales background.