After so many months of virtual meetings and virtual events, you can say we were virtually giddy to be attending and exhibiting at the Self-Storage Association (SSA) spring conference in Nashville! This event (typically held a couple of months earlier in the year) is one of two the SSA holds annually with the fall conference coming up in Las Vegas in September.
But back to Nashville! According to the SSA, attendance was a bit below pre-COVID levels but a still a solid turnout. Personally, I didn’t see much of a decline. Conference sessions were full and we were constantly busy in our booth.
Over the last year, we attended virtual events as both an exhibitor and attendee. Although many of these were impressive in the methods developed to try and get people to interact, they all fell a bit short. They just can’t replace the experience of walking down an aisle, catching sight of new or interesting things, and stopping for a quick chat to learn more.
And that’s what happened to us in Nashville. We had dozens of owners and facility managers stop by our booth so they could learn about our small monitoring device. A plus coming out of the pandemic for us is that people are much more open to new technology. Storage facilities made a major move toward “hands-off” renting. This required adding online payment options, virtual unit tours and remote customer support.
As owners adopt these solutions, they are seeing the benefits technologies can bring. And our Skyhawk Kiwi IR is one of those solutions. The Kiwi IR enables renters and owners to remotely monitor unit access. There was a lot of interest in it and we have several new customers and prospects trialing our solution. Many owners and managers were very interested in using the Kiwi IR to create “Monitored Storage Units” which could be rented for 15% – 20% more than regular units.
One of our key takeaways from this event – this industry is booming. With all the home renovations, the move to home offices, and the rebound after months of a stagnant economy, people are flocking to storage facilities to store their belongings.
A last insight on our first post-COVID show – the goodie bag had some new items in it. The SSA included branded mask and plenty of hand sanitizer!