On the 6th October, self storage owners, managers, investors and suppliers, made the trip to the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky in Amsterdam for the annual FEDESSA European Conference & Trade Show. By Rennie Schafer, Chief Executive Officer at SSAUK and FEDESSA.
With over 410 people attending over the two day event, this matched the numbers that attended the event in London two years ago, a record number to date.
The event was a huge success, with a range of speakers over two days, covering topics such as finance & economics, improving sales conversations, and using CRM to improve your business. One of the most anticipated speakers was Justin King, former CEO of Sainsbury’s, who shared his experience and advice on leadership and how to grow your business internally. He had the whole room captivated for the entire duration of his talk and then mixed with the delegates over lunch. Another popular speaker, Michael Tate, back due to popular demand, sharing an entirely new presentation on how to convert self storage leads into sales.
The sessions also included a number of panel discussions, on topics such as the state of the real estate and self storage market, legal tips and a perspective from industry operators. At the end of the second day, delegates had a chance to speak directly with some of the speakers and industry experts in our round tables session. The round tables were well attended with people having detailed discussions based on the issues raised over the two days.
This year’s event also hosted the largest self storage trade show outside the USA, with a number of new exhibitors, bringing new innovations and ideas to the industry. Of course there were also the experienced suppliers returning with their expertise and long-standing support of the industry.
The large number of attendees and new suppliers is an indication that the industry continues to grow. This was backed up by data from the European Annual Survey, released on the second day of the conference. This is the fourth European Annual Survey to be released, and the first to be produced in conjunction with property advisors JLL. The survey shows a 7.1% increase in the number of self storage facilities in Europe and 4.9% increase in the amount of space ion the past 12 months. The survey also shows that three quarters of operators expect next year to be more profitable, and many are looking to expand over the next three years.
The FEDESSA Conference also included networking events each evening. This year the Welcome Dinner took nearly 300 people for a trip on The Prins van Oranje, a fully restored Dutch saloon boat, viewing the sites of Amsterdam from its world famous canals. It was a night full of luxury, with quality food and drinks in a beautiful setting, perfect for our delegates to reflect on the day’s events.
On the second night, the Gala Awards Dinner was held in the Grand Ballroom at the Krasnapolsky, celebrating the achievements of the industry. The night opened up with entertainment from a Dutch illusionist group, followed by a 3 course meal, with the FEDESSA Awards presented between the courses. This year’s awards were the most highly contested to date, with an amazing amount of high quality nominations. Shurgard Europe won the best facility award with their site in Lundavagen, Sweden and best manager for Nico Gast from the Netherlands. Storage King (UK) won the charity imitative award and Easybox the business initiative for their video sales link. The night was wrapped up by a cover band, with lots of dancing and celebrations from the winners.
During the conference, it was announced that the European Conference & Trade Show will be going to Barcelona next year on the 5th & 6th October 2016. With the growth in the industry expected for the next 12 months, it is set to get even bigger and better.