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13 Feb 2024

2024 Self Storage Pricing Revolution


James McLean

Union Realtime

There's a significant shift in the REIT’s revenue management strategy within the Self Storage industry in 2024. The focus being on offering lower initial rates to attract tenants and then implementing aggressive rent increases shortly after. This approach aims to maximize revenue by capitalizing on the tendency of customers to stay for extended periods despite rate hikes.

Major players in the industry, such as Public Storage and Extra Space Storage, are adopting this revenue management strategy, emphasizing lower initial rents with subsequent aggressive rent increases.

The issue we see is that by luring customers in with low initial rates and then significantly raising them after a short period, there's a risk of alienating tenants and damaging the industry's reputation due to perceived lack of transparency. While this strategy may lead to short-term financial gains, it could ultimately result in long-term challenges, including higher turnover rates and lower customer satisfaction.

Given this context, self-storage operators, including independents, may need to adapt their pricing strategies to remain competitive; but, at the same time providing clear and transparent communication about pricing changes, such as through an introductory rate addendum to leases, which can help mitigate negative perceptions and build trust with tenants.

Developers should also start adjusting their underwriting models to reflect the actual rates most customers end up paying after the introductory period, rather than relying solely on the tried and true method of monitoring web rates. This shift, in our opinion, is crucial for accurately assessing the revenue potential of new development opportunities.

Bottom line: both sides should start considering alternative data sources beyond web rates when modeling assumptions which can potentially provide a more accurate picture of revenue potential. Overall, navigating these pricing dynamics requires a balance between short-term financial objectives and long-term sustainability, with a focus on maintaining customer trust and satisfaction.

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