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Five Tips for a Successful Loyalty Program at Your Truckstop

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

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When done right, loyalty programs can create a win/win situation for customers and the businesses they frequent. For truckstop and travel plaza operators, the programs can be used to create or enhance the location experience and encourage the driver to come inside, but before launching a program, operators need to know how their needs match up with their customers’ needs.

NATSO members joined together this month during an operational exchange conference call* to share their experiences with loyalty programs and what makes a program work. Here are five key ideas operators shared during the call.

Narrow your focus to help create the most effective program. To get started, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your goal?
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Who is your most profitable customer?
  • What motivates the independent driver vs. the fleet driver?
  • How do you determine the behavior of the driver?
  • How do you drive loyalty?
  • What are some of the loyalty programs out there?

Consider additional perks for your top customers. Some locations may find success by having a regular loyalty program along with a platinum program for those who fuel above and beyond the typical customer. Once the location has identified drivers that spend more than the average guest, they can communicate with them on a more personal level, send specials on a regular basis and customize offers. 

Create specials that bring customers inside. Operators can use a loyalty program to drive customers to profitable areas of the location or those areas where they want to either improve the number of customers or sales, such as on a particular day or within a specific time window.

Know your customers. Different types of drivers have different needs. Knowing what those are can help operators craft the most successful loyalty program. While company drivers may not care about a discount on fuel, savings on food or showers are important to them. Independent operators tend to be focused on anything that would reduce his or her cost, such as discounts on fuel, food or shop repair. 

Appeal to customers’ shopping habits. The shopping habits of owner operators are different than company drivers, as are their average tickets. Company drivers tend to grab and go without a lot of thought while owner operators tend to be shoppers that think about price and how much they need an item. Knowing this allows operators to use cards to encourage specific behaviors from each group. 

Extra tip! Be sure to check out these two companies that provide loyalty program solutions. Points to Partners, Inc. has over 25 years of experience in the design and implementation of successful loyalty programs. They offer low-cost, success-driven programs to any size company. Learn more about their offering at www.pointstopartners.comKickBack Rewards Systems develops business solutions that make retail operators smarter, more profitable and helps to elevate their entire organization to learn how to anticipate the growing needs of their customers. Learn more about their offering at www.kickbacksystems.com

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*Open to all NATSO truckstop and travel plaza members, NATSO Operational Exchange monthly calls provide a forum for operators to discuss operational questions and connect with peers on a single topic.

Limited to 15 operators, next month's call will take place on Thursday, August 13 at 11:00 a.m. EDT10:00 a.m. CDT9:00 a.m. MDT and 8:00 a.m. PDT. Operators will discuss holiday merchandising including how operators plan to capitalize on holiday sales and additional traffic, what has worked well before and what has not worked.

You can register online at www.natso.com/operationalcalls or by emailing membership@natso.com.

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About the Author

Amy Toner

Amy Toner

Toner markets NATSO products, services and meetings. She is the content editor of NATSO's core websites, Stop Watch magazine and Highway Business Matters biweekly articles. In addition, she provides creative services across all departments. Toner joined NATSO in 2006. Prior to joining the association, she served as director of membership services at an association for ambulatory surgery centers. Toner lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and son.

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