I know we say it every year, however 2016 seems to flying past at a rapid rate of knots. Through discussions with various members around Australia and New Zealand, there are mixed reports on the state of their market and the self storage industry. On the whole, sentiments are positive and given the challenges of the wider economy, upcoming federal election in Australia and some negativity in the media around current growth forecasting, the growth of our industry continues to be healthy and buoyant.

From a Self Storage Association of Australasia (SSAA) perspective we have been very busy. Unfortunately our CEO, Simone Hill, resigned from the position in April. Simone was CEO for approximately 18 months and was extremely hard working, dedicated and brought 20+ years of storage industry knowledge to the role. The board extends a big thank you to Simone for all of her help and support over this time. We would also like to congratulate Simone on her new role as the Legal Advisor to the SSAA. Recruitment for a new CEO has commenced and we anticipate that there will be some excellent candidates.

The membership drive that the Association office and Board commenced late last year is in full swing. Through tireless research and verification of storage listings, we have well over 700 potential new members that can now be approached and informed of the benefits that are available to SSAA members. Increasing the number of members in our Association will secure the future financial viability of the SSAA and increase awareness of best practice storage industry standards to operators that aren’t currently members. More members will also assist in the amortisation of SSAA operational expenses and reduce the cost of future events, like annual conventions.

The Board has identified that the current traffic study in Australia is out of date and has commissioned an update to the study. This will be released over the coming months and assist any members that are building new facilities or completing renovations to comply or object to the sometimes onerous car parking requirements handed down from local planning authorities. We would like to thank all of the facilities that have volunteered to be a part of the study and we appreciate that this will help the industry as a whole.

Over the past year the SSAA office has been investigating options to upgrade the current SSAA website. We are happy to announce that the construction of a new website has just been approved and this will see extensive improvements to all facets of the user experience. The ‘Storage Finder’ porthole will be completely upgraded and the ability of SSAA members to update their information and promote their facility will be greatly improved. Integration of the various accounting and management systems used by the SSAA office will be integrated into the site and this will make membership management, reporting and communication more streamlined and efficient. This is a huge project and we are really looking forward to the release of the finished product.

The Bi-annual 2016 Convention at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne is just around the corner. The venue, speaker line up and activities on offer are second to none and this event is not to be missed! If you haven’t booked already, spots are very limited and I really encourage you to get involved. This event now runs every second year, in between the Summit and Staff Retreat, therefore it has been 2 years since the Gold Coast and a long time since we could join together, exchange ideas, socialise and learn. Please contact the SSAA office today to book your spot. I look forward to seeing you there.

In my last Chairman’s report I discussed the high number of board positions that are becoming available at the next election. If you are interested in joining the SSAA board please start to think about the election process, talk to your peers about your intentions and start campaigning for election. It is such a rewarding endeavour and great opportunity to give something back to the SSAA. The Board is currently working on future strategies that will reduce the number of board members vacating at one time, however that will occur in the future and it is important that the positive initiatives and momentum that we are currently experiencing is fostered into the future by a strong Board.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you in Melbourne for the 2016 Convention and hope that 2016 is proving to be a positive and prosperous year for you.

All the best

Guy Wilson