Well, one thing 2020 taught us was to expect the unexpected… Businesses across all sectors have had to learn to be flexible and adaptable to survive in a volatile, unknown world.
The same applies to the self storage industry although according to the annual FEDESSA report, this is a sector that has continued to experience notable growth during the Covid-19 pandemic. We have seen some very exciting new sites as well as product innovation and the sector is attracting significant investor interest globally.
However, operators also have to deal with many new challenges. 2021 will offer our industry the opportunity to apply what we have learnt from 2020 and really solidify some of the fundamentals.
We believe that the following factors will continue to be key themes for operators this year:
- Health, hygiene and safety remain top priorities – Creating and maintaining a Covid safe environment for facility staff and customers will continue to be of utmost importance as the world is fighting to beat the virus and adjust to the “new normal”. Operators must ensure they have the right solutions, processes, plans, and communications in place to protect their teams and tenants. Rigorous health and hygiene programmes will be required, and operators have to continuously update Covid risk assessments based on the latest government guidelines across all sites.
- Customers are online more than ever – Ongoing pandemic restrictions and lockdowns have accelerated digital transformation worldwide and increased both consumer and business online transactions. FEDESSA’s 2020 survey indicated that web enquiries generated the highest percentage of self storage enquiries, 66% of all customers, and online price transparency also increased. Operators that want to continue attracting and delighting tenants really must invest to ensure they have a strong online search optimisation plan in addition to a great looking website with up-to-date content and user-friendly online booking and payment systems.
- Automation will be a huge advantage – Operators that had already invested in automating their facilities benefitted greatly in 2020 and will continue to do so in 2021 and beyond. Having a partly or fully automated site means that many aspects of running the facility can be done remotely and it isn’t necessary to have staff on site full time. One of the biggest questions when talking about facility automation is how a new tenant will be able to independently access their unit. Solutions such as the Nokē™ Smart Entry system utilise an electronic lock that secures the door. When someone rents a unit on the facility’s website, they receive a text message to download the app followed by a digital key. Also, there is no need to come into the office to manually lock tenants out of their unit if they are delayed with payments. An integrated property management software combined with electronic locks can automatically revoke access to the unit, gate, and other access points until the bill is paid.
To find out more about the Janus International range of self storage and access control solutions, please get in touch on: firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 20 8744 9444.