SSA UK Conference 2024

Jul 04 | 2024

A report from the Self Storage Association annual conference in Telford.

Rennie SchaferThis year’s Self Storage Association UK (SSA UK) conference moved to a new venue at the Telford International Centre.  This amazing space allowed the SSA to expand the show to be the biggest self storage trade show ever held in the UK as well as providing an undercover display of external storage units and storage containers.  There was also a wealth of speakers and industry sessions where the 670 people who attended the event learnt how to improve their self storage business and prepare for technological changes to the industry.

Day one included the launch of the Annual Industry Report 2024 which showed the industry’s annual turnover is now £1,080,000,000, occupancy rates were down 2.5 percentage points to 77.5% overall but rental returns had risen to an average £26.23 per sq ft.  There was an 8.1% increase in storage space in the year and 25% of businesses are now actively using AI.  Keynote, Paul McGee, was popular with delegates and talked at length about how it’s not what happens, it’s how you react that influences the outcome.

On day two our keynote, Scotty Mills, delivered a moving, yet humorous, presentation on life as a Green Beret in the Royal Marines and the importance of a ‘team’. Something we can all agree on.  Economist, Trevor Wiliams, made a return with an optimistic outlook on the UK economy with a caveat that there was still some uncertainty, and with the right conditions, it could swing back.

The industry panel sessions were some of the most popular with discussions around automation in the industry, changing rules on insurance, use of AI for marketing, growth of the industry and changing tax and business rate rules.

Pricing polies are always of interest to delegates, especially with more automation and dynamic pricing models available.  SSA UK CEO Rennie Schafer gave a fascinating presentation adapting the airline industries pricing methodology to self storage.

Delegates got a wealth of marketing tips, with presentations not just on how to improve AdWord conversions and online marketing but also offline marketing initiatives. Creating room to swing a cat and other creative self storage messaging to grow the market were workshopped by delegates.

There were external storage breakout streams running concurrently with the main plenary sessions ...

Photo: SSA UK CEO Rennie Schafer.

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