Over the years, technology has impacted every business industry across the world. Transportation, software, commodities, manufacturing, transportation, leisure, and many more businesses across the globe look and operate completely differently as they did 50 years ago. Real estate – and specifically – self-storage is no different.
Although many market participants don’t view real estate as a tech-savvy asset class, over the years technology has grown exponentially and has increased the industry’s efficiency, transparency, and profitability. Times are changing, and those that do not adapt to recent trends and technologies will find themselves behind their competition. In this article, we will discuss the major innovations that are taking the self-storage industry by storm and impacting how investors, developers, and owners participate in the industry’s future success.
The most apparent way technology is changing the way self-storage facilities operate is through digital management. Before salesforce, online bookkeeping, online banking, and remote leasing became popular, self-storage operators had to meet face-to-face with prospective tenants, spend countless hours populating their check books, and waste their precious time with tedious tasks. However, now, many self-storage facilities offer online reservations, payments, and access to the units through digital platforms, making it more convenient for customers to seamless communicate with owners and move into their units.
Additionally, owners are now able to more easily cross-sell offerings such as insurance and moving expenses by integrating real-time data software to automatically notify owners and tenants of lease rollover schedules and insurance changes. And, with digital management, owners can also track and monitor climate-controlled units and ensure their temperature is always cost-efficient.
Automation and Security
Technology is also useful for automating and enhancing security in and around the self-storage facility. Ensuring units are leased, tenants are happy, and rent is collected is only part one of the job as a self-storage owner. Part two of being a responsible owner and ensuring your facilities are well maintained and always fully optimized is guaranteeing tenants feel a sense of security and protection while their belongings occupy their units.
With technology, owners can now remotely monitor the facility’s security system and save a tremendous amount of money on insurance premiums and potential theft. You might want to even consider automated gates, keyless entry systems, and surveillance cameras to deter break-ins and other damage. With these security measures, owners no longer need to hire and manage a full-time security guard. By reducing overhead costs, your property will generate far more cash flow straight to the bottom line.
Marketing and Advertising
Technology can also be leveraged to improve your marketing and advertising efforts. Back before Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and Google, self-storage operators had to put advertisements in the local newspaper, walk door-to-door soliciting interest from local businesses and residents, and send out fliers at the local shopping center. Though those tactics can still be effective, with technology, advertising strategies have shifted primarily to online avenues. Placing an advertisement on LinkedIn coupled with a promotional video on Instagram is far cheaper than hiring someone to sit outside your local city center handing out postcards.
Additionally, through online advertising and social media, self-storage facilities can reach a wider audience and target specific demographics. Newspaper advertisements can only go so far. Maybe an advertisement in the local paper reaches the eyes of 10,000 or 20,000 people. Remarkably, a short social media clip with some engaging images and colors can reach hundreds of thousands of people in just a few days. If you can manage to convert even 2% of those viewers, your self-storage facility would do phenomenally well.
Technology continues to shape the business world. Self-storage is no different. With the right tactics, energy, and motivation, an investor can leverage these advancements to improve their facility’s returns. This industry is very competitive. Any opportunity to increase efficiency, improve tenant satisfaction, and save money should be embraced wholeheartedly. Technology does just that. By implementing digital management, automation and security, and effective marketing and advertising strategies, investors can increase occupancy and revenue at their self-storage facilities.
At Safe Storage Investors, we implement remote monitoring systems, keyless codes and locks, and full-time video surveillance across all of our properties. And we always use digital marketing to lease up the units. We take our jobs and capital very seriously. If we can find an opportunity to utilize technology to better our processes and returns, we embrace it with open arms. Check out www.safestorageinvestors.com to learn more.