Inside Self-Storage

MAR 2019

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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Page 17 of 83

Facility operators discuss online platforms, tech tools and more A kiosk and lock dispenser at Red Dot Storage in Vicksburg, Miss. We use it in a variety of ways—first, to acquire the customers. We have a strong search engine optimization program in place, partnered with aggregators, and we really work our Google My Business (GMB) listings. We have some solid approaches deployed using GMB that have shown pretty significant results. We feel that's the beginning of the process. If you're not using technology to bring customers in, you eventually won't need a storage facility because they'll get "scooped up" by everyone else who is. When we acquire the customer, we use a Web-based accounting software to enter his data. We use this information, even after the move-in, to make other decisions such as pricing, expansion, etc. From there, our customers can use an app to open the gates and climate-controlled doors, and even access the elevators. From start to finish, technology has changed the self-storage game. —Brian Byrd, Chief Operations Officer, Landvest Management (oversees 37 facilities in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Texas) F rom kiosks to automated locks to online payment portals, self-storage operators are embracing technology to run more efficient properties while catering to customer demands for automation. Inside Self-Storage asked a few leading companies how they're employing tech tools at their facilities, challenges they face during implementation, and the training they provide to staff. Facility operators discuss online platforms, tech tools and more Technology in Action From internal uses to customer- facing advances, technology is an integral part of daily operation at our properties. Implemented strategies using Microsoft's Outlook calendars to share appointments and meetings have aided in efficiency and effective internal communications. The recent theme of technology advancements in our industry creates many customer-facing improvement opportunities. Currently, we're testing Bluetooth capabilities. —Scott Beatty, CEO, Absolute Storage Management (operates 116 properties in 14 states) Each of our properties features a proprietary kiosk, state-of-the-art cameras and access controls. The kiosk allows customers to make reservations and payments 24 hours a day, while the access controls allow them to access the facility 24 hours a day using unique gate codes. We're also rolling out a proprietary lock that will allow past-due customers to unlock their overlock as soon as they bring their account current. Overall, technology has allowed us to create a more seamless customer experience while enabling our staff to focus on high-level strategic initiatives. —Seth Bent, Founder and CEO, Red Dot Storage (owns and operates 135-plus properties) Fundamentally, ours is a data-driven company that uses data to make forward decisions rather than to report on its past. Our technology platform is vertically integrated so all respective applications—from marketing to accounting to operations—are working together so we can get the entire picture and status of our business in real time. This approach gives us many advantages in the competitive landscape because we're not only able to see what's happening in real time but can forecast and see trends ahead of the curve. To boot, our data is democratized and, therefore, we have no barriers between departments. This really helps us all work together and in the same direction. —Jason Lopez, Chief Marketing Officer, US Storage Centers (operates 120-plus facilities) We utilize technology in almost every aspect at the store level. The stores we manage deploy technology from gates to lead follow-up to internal communication to facility operation. For example, each facility has a tablet that can be used to do a move-in or walk-through lock audit, take payments, etc. This tablet can also be taken off site to marketing events to allow customers to rent away from the facility. —Melissa Stiles, Director of Marketing, Storage Asset Management Inc. (oversees 150-plus properties along the East Coast) How do you use technology at your facility? 16 ISS I March 2019

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