The 2011 Conference of the Federation of European Self Storage Associations (FEDESSA) was held at the Tivoli Marina Hotel in Vilamoura, Portugal – a large and very well-run hotel serving both the conference and holidaymaker markets.
Located on one of the southernmost points in Europe, the hotel seemed at first glance to be rather out of the way for European delegates (and there was some subsequent criticism that several had to catch connecting flights to get there and return home) but a smaller conference was being run simultaneously elsewhere in the hotel for the major clients of a radio station based in Sacramento, California!
The economic climate meant that the number of delegates (68 firms and 125 people from Europe, plus one firm from South Africa and another from Brazil) was about 30% down on last year’s conference held in Berlin and delegates who visited the Storman Software stand confirmed that, in some parts of Europe, the market is a lot tougher than it has been in recent years.
Several delegates blamed much of the difficulty on fewer people moving home/relocating offices and one who suggested that people are now inclined to be more ruthless in disposing of spare “assets” (mainly to the local tip!) rather than paying to have them stored. Nonetheless, there were a number of operators (mainly from northern Europe and Scandinavia) planning to expand either the number of units on their existing site(s) and/or by opening new facilities.
Running alongside the conference was a trade show with 24 exhibitors’ stands featuring products and services ranging from facility construction to door manufacturing and from gate and door security products to insurance and, of course, software.
There were several main seminar speeches sponsored by Storman on such topics as market trends, risk and insurance, branding and so on, with smaller presentations on special interest subjects, but the highlight was the final speech of the conference – a quite brilliant (and, at times, hilarious) look at the future by the “futurologist”, Magnus Lindkvist – which, we are proud to say, was also sponsored by Storman!
However, the really important outcome – and the whole point of our being there – is that we were received a number of high quality enquiries which we are following up and we have raised considerably our profile with the European Self Storage industry.