OpenTech Alliance Inc., a Phoenix-based provider of self-serve kiosks, call-center services and other technology for self-storage businesses, has partnered with StoreLocal Corp., a co-op of private self-storage operators in Canada and the United States, to develop a global distribution system (GDS) designed to “deliver real-time self-storage inventory in a standard, scalable and secure method to consumers and third parties on a variety of platforms,” according to a press release. The GDS network will be comparable to the Sabre Airline Solutions reservation system used by commercial airlines and is intended to lessen the dependency independent operators have on Google in connecting consumers with their facilities.
“[The GDS will] open their doors to many other less-expensive sources of renters. Consumers will be able to rent, reserve and pay through the GDS from any device,” OpenTech officials said in the release.
The idea is to create a platform “that will work with all participating facility-management software providers and provide potential renters and other companies, such as movers, truck-rental companies, apartment-management firms and even bigger players like Yelp, Amazon and Angie's List, with effective ways to drive more consumers to self-storage facilities using a fluid, intuitive digital rental experience,” the release stated.
“[OpenTech has] solved a difficult and ongoing connectivity challenge for their kiosks, call center and other applications, and now we're working together to solve the problem for other companies looking to help self-storage operators rent more units,” said Lance Watkins, CEO of StoreLocal. “The platform we're developing will expose self-storage to more people as well as change the way they experience it."
OpenTech officials estimate 9 percent of Americans use self-storage today, and their goal is to use the GDS to increase that number to 12 percent. “We totally enjoy working with innovative minds that are not afraid to think big. StoreLocal is a group of self-storage operators that are looking to make self-storage easier to use, and that concept aligns well with our mission. We are excited to be part of something that will help the entire industry grow," said Robert A. Chiti, president and CEO of OpenTech.
StoreLocal leverages the combined strength of its membership for services such as customer acquisition, financing, marketing and technology. The co-op acquired online self-storage directories StorageFront.com and SelfStorageHounds.com from Red Nova Labs Inc. in January.
OpenTech provides several models of INSOMNIAC self-serve kiosks as well as a range of self-storage rental solutions including the INSOMNIAC Live! Call Center, INSOMNIAC Online Web and mobile applications, LiveAgent! software products, and the INSOMNIAC ILock Security System, all available through the company's self-storage cloud.