Is Facebook The Answer For Online Rentals?

May 15, 2012 10
Is Facebook The Answer For Online Rentals?

Storage Post, a self-storage brand managing over 20 facilities in Ga., La., N.J. and N.Y., has made it possible for potential tenants to reserve units on Facebook. Storage Post used the services of Definition 6 to integrate reservations ability directly onto their Facebook page, making it the first app enabling customers to reserve a storage unit without leaving Facebook.

Budget Self Storage of Florida was the first to promote storage reservations through a Facebook app in February 2012. But not everyone in the storage industry is convinced that reservations via Facebook will meaningfully boost occupancy.

“Since most of the people on your Friends list or most of your Likes come from current customers and other storage facilities, I can’t see a value in [using Facebook for reservations] any time soon,” moderator MamaDuke commented in an SST thread.

However, as noted in their press release about the new feature, Storage Post expects a rise in Facebook reservations over time.

Joe Krezdorn, manager of Dak Self Storage in Leesport, Pa., said he has used website reservation capability to increase his rentals. He does not currently use Facebook for reservations, citing the ability to use coupon codes and instant signup for auto-pay as excellent website or software features.

“Software is the key component of any kind of online rental. Ours will actually email me saying ‘you have an online rental,’” Krezdorn said. “If my vacancy is higher than a certain percentage, it will automatically adjust the price online.”

Krezdorn also maintains a blog, Twitter account and Facebook page as part of his SEO mix. “Every little bit of information out there with your name on it helps guide people to your website,” he said.

  • Stephanie

    I attempted to respond to you on the forums when you posed the question originally but I’d like to mention that I have rented 12 units over the past ten months via Facebook. I didn’t even know about this app until I saw your post on the forums. I’ve been planning to find some time to look into it further. I think the concept is a good one and may aid in getting even more rentals via Facebook for us. Time will tell. :)

    • http://thestoragefacilitator.com Rachel Greenfield

      Hi Stephanie, thanks for sharing your results on Facebook rentals. Sounds like it has been a successful channel for you so far! Good luck, and thanks for your comment.

    • http://www.sanclementeselfstorage.com/ Bill

      Hi Stephanie, I’m curious see what you’re doing on Facebook… obviously your having success… can you let me know what your Facebook address is?

    • http://www.fifthroomstorage.com/ Fifth Room Storage

      I recently wrote a post on another blog expressing my skepticism that Facebook was an effective tool for self storage. I probably should have clarified to say “cost effective.”

      I’d be curious to know a) what percent of your total rentals those 12 reservations comprised, b) how expensive it was to acquire those customers relative to other means (i.e., the development of the booking interface on facebook), c) whether those two numbers add up to something that makes it worthwhile to consider such an integration and d) whether those 12 reservations happened linearly or if there is an exciting exponential trajectory afoot.

      Obviously, much of a-d above is proprietary info – so I don’t expect a quantifiable response – I’m only offering a way that I’d think about such an undertaking if I wanted to go about it. I guess, overall, I remain unconvinced that it really is a valuable bottom-of-funnel channel.

      (I do think social is an effective top-funnel channel).

  • M. Harley

    Unfortunately for Storage Post and Definition 6, the comment about “Storage Post is the first self-storage company to accept storage reservations through a Facebook app” is simply not true. Fact is, Budget Self Storage of Florida (www.budgetselfstorageflorida.com) was the first only in the world to have a real-time reservations system embedded on Facebook.

    http://www.insideselfstorage.com/news/2012/02/smart-storage-concepts-creates-socialmedia-reservations-engine-for-selfstorage.aspx

    • http://thestoragefacilitator.com Rachel Greenfield

      Hi Mike, thank you for the clarification. I will edit the post to reflect this fact now.

  • http://www.sanclementeselfstorage.com/ Bill

    I was looking at the comments below and it appears that Stephanie has rented 12 units over the past year… Time for us to step up and see what results were going to get on facebook! Great idea…

    • http://thestoragefacilitator.com Rachel Greenfield

      Good luck with your own Facebook marketing! Thanks for reading.

  • http://www.unitselfstore.com/ Self Storage Nottingham

    Businesses, including those in the self storage industry, will benefit from Social Media. The hesitation in a facebook app for the purposes of reservations is understandable, early adopters are rather marginal. But I think it has great potential.

  • http://storeselfstorage.com/ Branden

    Interesting to see if there’s a follow up to this story. It’s a great idea and makes it very easy for someone to search for a unit within their vicinity.