I’ve just returned from the Self Storage Association of Australasia’s (SSAA’s) fantastic Owners & Managers Summit, held at Uluru – the “heart of Australia”. As part of my time there, I kept a photo diary and blog – which is included for you below.
Tuesday 11th August
Welcome to the centre of Australia! We are lucky enough to be experiencing the best that this area has to offer at the SSAA’s 2015 Owners & Managers Summit.
The flight from Sydney takes just under 4 hours, but we experienced a strong head-wind that took us an extra 30 minutes. It was quite eye-opening to see the Simpson Desert from the air as we flew over it, and I have included some spectacular photos from my seat in the sky. The thing that struck me is that, at this time of the year, the temperature is a very moderate 20 – 25 degrees Celsius during the day and a very refreshing 2 – 3 degrees Celsius overnight.
After a short bus ride to Sails in the Desert (our hotel and conference venue), we disembarked and were treated to a fantastic buffet-style lunch of local produce with drinks around the pool. Well done to the SSAA! It was simply great to land, check in, and enjoy a drink with lunch.
After enjoying the local fare, I set about setting up our tradeshow stand which this year was reduced given the distances and costs involved – but the essentials were there. Once this was done, we all boarded a bus (or five!) to enjoy a spectacular night at dinner with Sounds of Silence. The dinner took place in a spectacular sand dune setting with a great 3 course “bush tucker” -inspired dinner under the stars.
With a backdrop of Uluru on one side and The Olgas on the other, it truly was awesome. We enjoyed the “story of the stars”, delivered by our star guide Steve, and learnt that even the early Aborigines required self storage! We heard the story of the creator placing his canoe into the sky for safe keeping. Bring on Day two which will see the true start of The Summit, Tradeshow – and a meeting of the minds in self Storage.
Wednesday 12th August
Wow! Upon reflecting on today from the perspective of 10pm at night – we had a cracker of a day! The day started slowly, after a very energetic evening in the hotel the night before. As you can imagine, the dry desert air resulted in some very thirsty people and we spent a good amount of time re-hydrating and catching up.
After a good night sleep, we started the day with a traditional welcome from the local tribes people. We saw the “emu dance” and heard the story of the great snake that created Ayers Rock. We were welcomed and blessed, and told that we should enjoy ourselves while we were here.
The tradeshow went really well, with some great interest from self storage owners about our Ezidebit integration and PCI compliance. It seems that many do not understand the importance of PCI compliance and how it affects their business on a daily basis. Overall the tradeshow was well received and was still actively going at 9pm. A great response and a great day… bring on day 3!
Thursday 13th August
It’s been a great conference so far and today marks the final day of the tradeshow with the Gala Awards Dinner taking place tonight. Today’s tradeshow showed me that our customers are engaged. Even after three solid days of self storage information, here I am at morning tea showing customers how they can make the most out of the information they have at their disposal within StorMan.
Possibly the biggest topic of conversation is how they can achieve PCI compliance in an easy manner and, of course, we have this covered with our Ezidebit integration. Interestingly, many people I spoke to considered themselves to be PCI compliant because they said that they put the credit card numbers in a “safe place”. Not true!
So after a great day, we headed off to ready ourselves for a night of fun at the Gala Awards Dinner. I think that you will appreciate the awards and the number of dedicated people in our industry striving to make their business better. Congratulations to the following award winners!
- Lifetime Membership Award: Bob Marsh
- Small Operator of the Year: Storex Self Storage (Dandenong South, Victoria)
- Best Expansion / Upgrade Award: Safe ‘n’ Sound Self Storage (Rutherford, New South Wales)
- Innovation Award: Steel Storage (for the construction of Storage King Helensvale)
- Service Member of the Year: Steel Storage
- Manager of the Year: Linda Barker (Fort Knox Self Storage, Moorabbin, Victoria)
- Regional Facility of the Year: Storage King (Berkeley Vale, New South Wales)
- Facility of the Year: U-Store-It (Keswick, South Australia)
Lastly and most deservedly, I would like to thank Simone Hill and the entire SSAA Team and Board for the great job that they do… the event was fantastic, so thanks to all who came and visited us – as well as to all who helped make it run so smoothly.