My first Inside Self-Storage World Expo is now officially in the books! Being the newest member of the ISS team and having minimal experience in the industry before starting with this brand, other than renting a storage unit in college and attending one other tradeshow, I did not know what to expect. Probably like many other first-time attendees, I found the expo to be interesting, educational and eye-opening. I was nervous, excited and hopeful I could help put on a good show and answer the questions that would be asked of me. In the end, I was exhausted in a way that made me feel I accomplished something.
The first day of seminar-track education started bright and early. Thankfully there was caffeine, and everyone seemed ready to go! So much of the day blurred together as I passed the hours between the ISS Store kiosk, the Self-Storage Q&A and our expo-hall booth.
One observation I made was how eager our attendees were to learn, discuss, or share opinions and facts. Between sessions, I got to meet and assist so many people with general or product-specific questions. Many attendees have been coming to the show for years and knew my teammates and each other well. I met one man who has attended since 1993 and has only missed a few times! The dedication and desire to stay current and connected was impressive. Compared to the show I attended earlier this year, I found ours much more active. There were so many people in one place trying to make their connections, get their advice, and see who and what they needed.
The next day began the same and sped by even faster! There seemed to be just as many attendees going between seminar sessions and wandering the expo floor. I was happy to see they felt there was good value in what our event had to offer.
I got a chance to wander the show floor to see the different presentations, booth setups and tchotchkes (everyone’s favorite). The booth designs, the building and the technology that some companies showcased in their space was impressive. These were not the type of booth setups I saw at the non-ISS show, so it was surprising. When the time was up and the floor was closing, there was still a good number of people having conversations or wanting to visit one more exhibitor.
One major takeaway from this event was that our attendees love what they do. They are passionate about their companies, the industry and their customers. They are eager to learn and take back new tips and products to improve upon what they are doing.
Another is how wonderful our attendees are. The ones I had conversations with were friendly and open. Many of those discussions were also learning experiences. I got to find out firsthand what they think, what they know, what I should know, etc. They were more than happy to get my opinions, too—to see what I know from my short time in the industry.
My one regret was not being able to attend the seminars. I would have enjoyed seeing a presentation or two, and it is on my to-do list for next year. Overall, it was a great first experience, and I look forward to 2019 at The Mirage!
Kortney Hannes is project coordinator for Inside Self-Storage.