Operators Seek Pre-Trade Show Outreach, Information


When it comes to connecting with customers before a trade show, personal contact is the key. Truckstop and travel plaza operators told NATSO they look forward to meeting with exhibitors and like to know more about them before they set foot on the tradeshow floor. Not only that, they like to know the name of the person who will be manning the booth so they can stop by and introduce themselves.

Bill Vollenweider, owner of the Detroiter Travel Center in Woodhaven, Mich., welcomes direct contact from exhibitors. “Generally what I always like is a personal phone call saying, ‘Are you coming to the show? Good, we’re going to be there and have some specials we want you to look at,’” he said.

Vollenweider also likes to receive e-mails describing the exhibitor’s company and giving the booth number. “It is important for them to have a name on the e-mail. That way when you walk by the booth, you already know the person so you stop by and visit with them,” he said.

Sean Flynn, owner of Flynn’s Truck Plaza in Shrewsbury, Mass., likes to receive postcards in addition to e-mail. “I’ll stick all the postcards I get in a folder and bring them with me to remind me to stop by a booth,” he said.

Flynn said in addition to having a booth number, it would be helpful if exhibitors explained where the booth is on the show floor. “If they tell me they’re in the first row from the door, I can find them a lot easier,” he explained.

Postcards that offer a free gift at the booth can grab an operator’s attention. “People are greedy and they’ll usually stop by for the some swag,” Flynn said.

Flynn does look at larger packets that exhibitors send, but usually that is after the show. “I don’t bring them with me. I will show them to my store manager, and I usually do a lot of purchasing after the fact,” he said.

Industry Suppliers Are Expected to Reach Key Decision Makers at The NATSO Show

Industry suppliers can place their products and services in front of a powerful cross-section of the nation’s $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry when The NATSO Show convenes in Las Vegas from Feb. 27 – March 3, 2010. The NATSO Show 2010 is expected to attract decision-makers representing an estimated 1,400 locations across the nation.

Last year, The NATSO Show attracted representatives from all national truckstop chains, as well as owners, operators and buyers representing a dynamic array of regional chains and independent operators. For a list of truckstop and travel plaza companies represented in 2009, click here.

At a time when every dollar spent on travel must deliver the maximum results, The NATSO Show offers companies opportunities to reach hundreds of customers for less than what they may spend on customer service visits that reach just a handful of locations.

A limited number of exhibitor spaces remain.Contact Marc Benson at mbenson@natso.com or (703) 739-8575 to secure your booth and sponsorship. Visit The NATSO Show Website for more details.

{HBMHighway Business Matters is a brief semi-monthly newsletter created exclusively for companies that provide products or services to the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Highway Business Matters will keep you informed on trends, tactics, and tips to help you connect to the $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry. 

Help tailor Highway Business Matters to meet your needs by sharing your feedback and story ideas. Send your input to: atoner@natso.com.


Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
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