Seamless navigation around self-storage properties.

Engrain's SightMap has become an essential tool for Extra Space Storage, enhancing both user and employee experiences across their facilities.


Seamless navigation around self-storage properties

Self-storage has relied on the self-guided experience for longer than most other industries. But the need for interactive self-guided technology has never been as great as it is today to ensure seamless, reliable and safe operations. While Google may get a customer to their destination, it can’t help them navigate the intricate hallways and vast properties of self-storage facilities and get them to their storage units with ease.

“Maps are a commodity feature in most software applications in the storage space, but the key feature we were missing was the interactive component,” said James Hafen, vice president of product development for Extra Space Storage. “The self-storage industry has used static map files that need to be updated by the vendor and they’re very limited in how customers or teams can interact with them.”

Extra Space is one of the most innovative companies in the industry and was seeking methods to provide a better customer experience and create more self-sufficient ways for customers to find and secure a storage unit. On top of improving the customer experience, Extra Space wanted to modernize pricing and create a real-time, accurate and streamlined way to make sure each storage unit was on par with market rates to maximize revenue opportunities.

“The need for interactive maps came about as a way to enhance the self-service journey and provide a better overall customer experience, but we also needed a solution that would have meaningful use cases in terms of reporting and facilities management,” Hafen said. “We wanted to upgrade our revenue management processes and how we price units based on accessibility and premium location.”


Implementing Engrain’s SightMap portfolio-wide

Extra Space storage found the need to implement interactive site maps to establish a better self-service experience and expedited the process at the beginning of 2020. Interactive maps would also support a more robust revenue management strategy and allow onsite teams to do their jobs better.

“We started looking around immediately and found Engrain early on,” Hafen said. “We knew we needed this type of technology to facilitate more of the self-service experiences our customers were looking for and make selecting a storage unit and navigating properties as seamless and intuitive as possible. It’s also a much easier way to visualize our properties and understand vacancy, premium unit locations and how our properties are laid out.”

Extra Space started using Engrain’s SightMap at some of its properties in 2019, and by 2020 it had implemented SightMap across its entire portfolio of more than 2,000 locations.

Customers have the ability to search for and select the storage unit they want and can seamlessly navigate their way around the property to their units.

“These are unique properties and we don’t have standard layouts and sometimes it’s very confusing how we number our units. Giving people a navigable point of reference where they can get from a gate, an office or a kiosk to their unit is the primary enhanced experience.”
James Hafen

Vice President of Product Development, Extra Space Storage


Enhanced self-service experience, optimized revenue management

The benefits of using Engrain’s SightMap have proven to be multifaceted for Extra Space. SightMap has made the customer experience much more enjoyable, productive and easier to navigate. In addition to an elevated customer experience, SightMap has also equipped Extra Space teams with insight into the areas they can save money and increase revenue.

“Our goal was to enhance the overall customer experience and provide an intuitive and seamless journey when selecting and locating storage units, Hafen said. “Engrain’s SightMap has not only created a higher caliber self-service experience for our customers, but it has also helped us gain a much deeper understanding of our properties, premium locations and the overall layout.”

Engrain’s SightMap provides a more comprehensive approach to visualizing and understanding vacancy and premium unit locations. With that capability, Extra Space created a more robust revenue management strategy and has the ability to dial in to the location-specific nuances of properties and how it impacts pricing.

“The interactivity of a map, real-time occupancy and vacancy data and pricing affect the journey in a way we’ve never implemented before at Extra Space,” Hafen said. “It really is a novel and invaluable tool for us. Many Extra Space properties have thousands of units. We can now let customers know where their unit is located and give them a better idea of whether or not their truck can get down a particular aisle, or if they need to take an elevator or go up a flight of stairs and around three corners with a couch.”

When customers inquire about renting a storage unit, Extra Space onsite managers have visual representations of the properties where they can see things in a way that is far more intuitive than before. SightMap allows all users to understand the premium units and how to best market each unit based on its individual and location-specific features.

“It’s much quicker to pull up a property map on SightMap and visualize the green boxes where there is vacancy and which units meet the particular criteria a customer is looking for,” Hafen said. “You can turn the map around to the customer and show them what’s available to see what will work best for them. It changes not just the rental journey, but also the reporting, walk-through tasks and lock checks that the site managers are required to do as well.”

Extra Space is also extending SighMap to call center agents to equip them with a better tool for understanding and talking about properties they have never visited. Call center agents can leverage SightMap to answer customers’ location-specific questions. Even though the agents may not be familiar with a specific property, they have the added visual context to field customer questions and provide high-caliber customer service.

Finding a tool like Engrain’s SightMap has drastically changed the way Extra Storage conducts business and manages storage units throughout its entire portfolio.

“We look at Engrain’s SightMap as a critical component for how we enhance both the user experience and the employee experience at all of our locations. It’s now a permanent extension of how Extra Space does business.”
James Hafen

Vice President of Product Development, Extra Space Storage