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Steps to Make Sure the Seasonal Promotional Program at Your Truckstop Is Great

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

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For two and a half days, the industry gathers to find knowledge, solutions and connections at NATSO Connect. Just like NATSO Connect, the NATSO Connect Magazine is your source for improving your travel plaza business operations. 

Steps to Make Sure the Seasonal Promotional Program at Your Truckstop Is Great

Ask anyone how to create a seasonal promotional program and I am certain you will get a different answer from each person. Hopefully the basic tactics would all be about the same and where they would differ would be in the details of the individual and how they would execute the program.

That being said, I thought I would layout the basics that I shared from the Good To Great Session from NATSO Connect 2018.

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Before you begin any implementation, identify what you want to accomplish. If you do not, you will simply have a promotional program that generates nothing but willy nilly. It may or may not be successful. Are you looking to:

  • Drive Sales Dollars
  • Drive Rebate Dollars Via Unit Sales
  • Drive Margin Dollars
  • Improve Customer Touch Points by raising Average Ticket
  • Increase Value Perception

Develop a strategy and the tactics to support it based on what you want to accomplish. Basically, have a plan. At this point get your vendors involved. Did I say get your vendors involved early in this process?

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Understand that discounts as part of a seasonal promotional program have a big effect on purchase behavior. What type of promotions have the biggest impact? I’ll give you three choices:

  • Percent Off? 30 percent off a $50 antenna
  • Dollars Off? $200 off a $999 AC/DC HD TV?
  • BOGO? Buy a fleece hoodie for $60.00 and get the second for 50 percent off?

Did you know that the first one—30 percent off of a $50 aentenna—was the best deal of the three for the consumer? It is 30 percent off. The other two promotions are 20 percent and 25 percent respectably.

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To be successful, you want to develop a promotional program calendar with your vendors that:

  • Highlights Each Event
  • Notes the Goal of Each Event
  • Identifies Follow Up Dates to Discuss Results

Once you begin execution of your promotional program you and your vendor(s) should review the performance of each event with these four strategies:

  • You should look at the performance of the item(s) the month prior to the promotion, in terms of sales, profit and units.
  • Examine the performance results of the item(s)/event during and in concluding the promotion, in terms of sales, profits and units.
  • Evaluate the performance of the item(s) the month after the promotion in terms of sales, profits and units.
  • Review and repeat as the year goes on making the appropriate changes with each vendor in order to accomplish your goals.

/// NATSO Connect 2019 will be held February 10 - 13 in Orlando, Florida. Get on the list to learn more about NATSO Connect 2019 here.

Photos credit: Brittany Palmer/NATSO

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.