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FEDESSA holds 21st Annual European Convention

Nov 05, 2019
London’s prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Centre in the heart of Westminster throbbed with life on 1-2 October as more than 800 delegates from around the world gathered for the 21st FEDESSA European Self Storage Convention and Trade Show.

With only a handful of seats left in the cavernous auditorium, TV presenter Mark Durden-Smith broke the ice with his razor-sharp witt and innocently risqué humour, before introducing an impressive line-up of speakers over the two-day event. Leading businesswoman and CEO of West Ham United Football Club, Karren Brady gave an inspirational keynote speech that set the tone for a series of presentations by self storage industry experts, beginning with a European industry report by
FEDESSA CEO Rennie Schafer and his team.  Other presentations included discussions on how to recover from a catastrophic fire, and how to prepare your self storage business for sale.

Panel discussion and Basil Fry at the Trade ShowDay-two began with an equally inspiring keynote speech by Lord Stuart Rose, former Executive Chairman of Marks & Spencer, followed by presentations which included a look at millennials’ attitude to self storage and how engaging local communities by becoming involved in sporting clubs, schools and charities, can increase brand awareness and improve occupancy rates.

All the sessions were well attended throughout the two days with lots of questions from the audience; a testament perhaps to the quality of the speakers and Mark’s ability to create a jovial yet business-like atmosphere to the proceedings.

Away from the theatre there were plenty of opportunities for networking in the spacious surroundings of the QE II Centre.  Over lunch, the increasingly popular hot-bowl format allowed delegates to mingle, fork and bowl in hand, renewing friendships and seeking out new business contacts in the largest gathering of self storage professionals in the world, outside the USA.

Delegates at the Trade show, Reason Global at the Trade ShowOn floor three of the Centre around 50 exhibitors were on hand to promote the very latest technology and services currently available in the self storage industry.  The Trade Show gave visitors a unique opportunity to meet top suppliers from all aspects of the industry under one roof; from specialist insurance brokers, to management software suppliers, container and packaging sales, right through to complete design and fit out services.  Whatever you needed to start, run, or develop a self storage business, it was in that room – impressive.

As with all good conferences FEDESSA’s was not just about business, there was time for a little fun too.  After a hard first day of business talk and networking, delegates boarded a fleet of vintage double-decker London buses on route to the Natural History Museum and a Cultural Dinner held in Hintze Hall, under the suspended skeleton of ‘Hope’, the gigantic Blue Whale.  But the fun didn’t end there.  The following evening the conference concluded with the Annual Industry Awards Dinner held at the QE II Centre, where the excellent food, wine and entertainment, provided a fitting end to a successful and memorable event. 

Photos: (top to bottom): Rennie Schafer addresses the convention; panel discussion; Basil Fry at the Trade Show; visitors to the Trade Show; Reason Global Insurance at the Trade Show.

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