Being on the Data Science & Revenue Management team at Extra Space Storage doesn’t mean you will spend your days endlessly buried in Jupyter Notebooks and databases. While that does come with the territory, the team also spends significant time collaborating and problem-solving with almost every major department to ensure the company stays ahead of market trends and innovation for the self storage industry.
Whether it’s in-depth discussions about correlation versus causation, asking thought-provoking questions during team huddles, or officially declaring Tuesday as tie and turtleneck day, this team strikes a balance of hard work and fun. To spotlight the Data Science & Revenue Management team, we spoke with Ribhu Nirek, Associate Engineer of Machine Learning, and Aditiyaa Nagarajan, Director of Digital Analytics and Systems, about department goals, challenges, and recent accomplishments.
Q: What are the Data Science & Revenue Management department goals?
A: Our main goal is to maximize revenue by optimizing pricing to get the most value from our rental units. By maintaining state-of-the-art data science systems, we have always stayed at the forefront of the self storage industry. Over the years, we have expanded our goals to serve other departments, providing insights and recommendations using rigorous A/B testing. Most recently, we established a new analytics team to support the Property Acquisitions team in expanding our stores strategically and in a data-driven way.
Q: Are there unique teams within the Data Science & Revenue Management department?
A: The department consists of four teams:
- DAS (Digital Analytics and Systems): Generates performance insights and journey analytics to facilitate other teams, builds advanced analytical systems, and maintains data pipelines.
- RM (Revenue Management): Builds advanced analytical systems to price units and dynamically adjusts pricing at a portfolio and granular level.
- DS & AI (Data Science & Artificial Intelligence Systems): Develops state-of-the-art data science systems, ensures process efficiency, and supports the company in maintaining optimal performance.
- Acquisition Analytics: Provides insights and recommendations to improve acquisition strategy.
Q: Does Data Science & Revenue Management’s work cross over with other departments?
A: We work collaboratively with several departments providing insights and recommendations to drive performance. The DAS team partners closely with Marketing, SEO, Product, and Customer Experience to identify customer pain points and opportunities to improve conversion rates. DS & AI is involved with the Business Intelligence team to ensure the accuracy of our datasets, and with the Financial Planning and Analytics team to build out company-wide reports reflecting our KPIs. The RM team works with Operations and Third-Party Management to guarantee optimal pricing that matches current market trends and fetches the best long-term revenue.
Q: What words best describe the work done by the Data Science & Revenue Management department?
A: Testing and automating for better decision-making. While that might not be the most glamorous sounding answer, the team plays a critical role in company decisions by encouraging a data-driven approach to questions, initiatives, and ideas.
Q: What are some challenges the Data Science & Revenue Management department faces?
A: The only constant in the data science world is that it’s getting more advanced every day. We must keep abreast of the latest technological developments to remain at the forefront of the self storage industry. A recent example of this was the challenge of improving website speed through testing out tag governance. In partnership with the Web team, we improved onload speed to consistently hit ~2-3 seconds on our homepage (extraspace.com). That’s the gold standard in the Tech industry!
Q: How does the Data Science & Revenue Management department promote morale and collaboration?
A: Our team culture is rooted in curiosity, exposure, and collaboration. We maintain an open-door policy where everyone is encouraged to discuss relevant topics or new ideas with their peers, leaders, and senior management. Team members have funds to attend conferences, compete in hackathons, or take advanced courses.
We meet together frequently on Microsoft Teams, conversing about hobbies, favorite restaurants in town, or musings about what one’s presidency would look like if they were the POTUS. We also have regular team lunches, annual golf tournaments, fitness challenges, volunteer activities, and more. Fun activities like these have created great working relationships and make work enjoyable.
Q: What are some recent accomplishments of the Data Science & Revenue Management department?
A: In 2021, we recorded the highest year-over-year revenue growth in the company’s history. That’s a result of the collaborative work of so many departments. The DS team partnered with Marketing and Product teams to test new features such as rapid rental. Pricing and promotion strategies were thoroughly tested with Operations and other teams to achieve this record growth.
Q: Where has the Data Science & Revenue Management department made the most impact?
A: In driving revenue by building advanced pricing and marketing recommendation systems.
Q: What are some ways the Data Science & Revenue Management department has displayed Extra Space Storage’s core values?
A: The values that stand out to us are Teamwork, Innovation, and Excellence. As mentioned, we have ample opportunities for Teamwork and Innovation as we partner with other departments. But also, being Excellent at what we do and finding the best talent is especially important to us.
Q: What future project(s) is the Data Science & Revenue Management department looking forward to?
A: There’s a massive change ongoing in the digital and technology landscape. We are constantly looking to capitalize on these trends and improve our platforms. For example, we recently migrated to Azure Cloud, allowing us to take advantage of cloud computing. That, in turn, will enable us to improve forecasting and predictions in our advanced analytical systems. We’re also focused on text analytics, and as mentioned above, advanced analytics for acquisitions, among other things.
Interested in a career with Extra Space Storage? Learn more about our employment opportunities.