When the weather turns cold, business tends to cool down as well for many self storage operators. However, with a little bit of ingenuity, you can avoid the seasonal sales slump and keep customers coming in. Here are ten unique ways to take advantage of the holiday season.
1. Get Involved with the community
Engaging with the community is a great way to garner goodwill, build brand awareness, and gain future foot traffic.
First, get involved with a local or national charity, like Toys for Tots. Contact them and let them know that you’re willing to be listed as a drop-off location. Use your vacant units to store donations until you've acquired a certain amount, then bring them to the charity (if you have rental trucks on site, this makes the task especially easy). Read more in our blog Holiday Giving Guide: Five Ways to Give Back to Your Community.
Second, consider sponsoring local events, such as a parade, Santa workshop, or community holiday gathering. Most events are usually looking for sponsors and have varying levels of sponsorship. It's a great way to grow your presence in the community and keep your self storage facility top of mind.
2. Target Local Businesses
Are there some local businesses in your area that could use some extra space during the winter months? If you’re in a snowy climate, there are likely to be businesses that have items they need to put away for the season, such as restaurants with outdoor patio furniture.
Some companies are seasonal and go on hiatus for a while, such as landscaping businesses. Perhaps they could store some of their riding lawn mowers, push mowers, or other landscaping gear with you until spring. The best part? These customers may transition to snow blowing services in the winter, meaning when spring rolls around they’ll swap out their lawn mowers for snowblowers, giving you a year-round tenant.
3. Send Holiday Cards
Holiday cards are not just for family! Sending them to current customers is a nice gesture and shows them you appreciate your business. Sending them to previous, quality customers is also a great idea, as it reminds them about your business and shows them that you remember them, too. Include an invitation to come back with a discount (first month free, etc). .
4. Decorate Your Facility/Create a drive-through event
Make your self storage facility stand out with a holiday display of your own! Many people drive around simply to see Christmas lights, so make your business one of the stops on their list. Check out this list of the best Christmas light displays in every state for inspiration.
If you're not up for decorating on your own, invite your tenants to decorate their units, and let them know the winner will receive a prize (say, three months free rent). Then, promote a holiday display drive-thru event, where families can roll through the grounds and take a look at all the displays.
Another bonus is that a local news or radio station may promote your event to draw more people in. This will really keep your facility top-of-mind when locals decide they need a storage unit.
5. Create a Christmas Present Wrapping Station
You could offer wrapping services to gain foot traffic and earn some extra cash, or you might consider turning a large vacant unit into a “Christmas Present Wrapping Station,” where tenants can bring their presents to wrap them. Set up tables, and stock with tape, wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows. It’s this “surprise and delight” factor – the idea of offering something unexpected – that will keep your tenants happy. You may even market it to non-tenants to drive foot traffic and interest in your facility.
If your facility sells self storage retail items, like boxes and tape that could be used for wrapping presents, you may also make some extra sales that way.
6. Hold a Holiday Decor Swap
Year after year, many people put up the same old decorations, in their homes and in their yards. It’s simply too expensive to change them out every year. So, consider holding a holiday decor swap event, where people can display their decor and exchange them with other people. You may already have tenants storing holiday decor who will participate, plus you can bring in outsiders and get them thinking of your facility as a storage spot for their seasonal items.
7. Target Apartment and Condominium Residents
Unlike many homeowners, people living in apartments and condominiums may struggle to find a place to store items they don't use during the winter, such as bikes, outdoor grills, sports equipment, etc. Work with management at local apartment or condo complexes to distribute flyers promoting your storage options, and offer a discount. The complex management team can state in their newsletter, for example, how they’ve partnered with your facility to offer discounted winter storage for residents, allowing them to look like the hero.
8. Target Snowbirds
If you're in Florida or another location where Northerners migrate to during the winter months, they may rent out their home or unit during the spring, summer, and fall. This can also leave some of them struggling to find a place for all their holiday items (and general personal items). Rather than have them find secure space on their property, offer them space in your self storage facility.
9. Build a Snowman/Christmas Tree Box Display
Do you sell self retail self storage products? Let people passing by know by building a large snowman or Christmas tree out of storage boxes that can be displayed in front of your facility with a sign designating your location as the “Holiday Storage Headquarters.” You’ll want to stock, and advertise, holiday storage bins and Christmas storage bins, Christmas ornament storage with packing dividers, and Christmas tree storage and Christmas tree storage bags.
For your online marketing, be sure to point out that a storage unit is not just for seasonal decor storage, but that it makes a great place to stash Christmas gifts so that snooping kids or spouses don’t find them in the usual hiding spots!
10. Create an Email or Social Media Campaign
Create an email or social media campaign offering valuable tips, such as holiday storage ideas. This type of information is useful to recipients and keeps your facility top of mind when it comes to seasonal storage. Storage tips could suggest dismantling large decorations and wrapping specific parts to keep them safe, using packaging dividers, bubble wrap, or other protection for fragile ornaments, using individual boxes for each string of lights to make untangling easy, marking boxes clearly, and so on. You can also send these tips out one at a time over social media to extend the life of the campaign.
Become Your Neighborhood’s Holiday Storage Headquarters!
The holidays don’t need to be such a slow time of the year when you think outside the box. By promoting your self storage facility as the Holiday Storage Headquarters, targeting the right audiences, and getting involved in the community, you can bring in business during the holidays that just may stay with you for the long term. For more ideas that'll last year-round, check out 21 Self Storage Marketing Ideas.