Help Operators Take Advantage of Holiday Sales


Like all retailers, truckstop and travel plaza operators know that the holidays mean increased opportunities for sales. Not only do locations see an increase in the number of four-wheeler passengers stopping in as they travel to be with friends and family, professional drivers are often on the look out for gifts for loved ones while they’re out on the road.

Operators hope to appeal to their customers by offering the products their customers both need and want, and they often turn to their vendors to provide valuable expertise on the latest products and insights into how holiday traffic works.

Operators said they’re open to bigger ticket items during the holidays that they might not carry throughout the rest of the year. Scott Hein, store manager at Iowa 80 in Walcott, Iowa, said, “You may not be able to sell a $99 remote control truck in February, but later in the year the truck driver will buy it for a gift.”

Vendors are in a key position to help operators draft a seasonal promotional plan in which they outline their customer segments, their key demographics and each segment’s needs. By working closely with operators to define the customer mix, vendors can make more specific product recommendations that will improve sales for both parties.

Once locations better understand their customer mix, they can share the information with their vendors for more targeted suggestions.

Operators are also open to merchandising and point-of-sale signage recommendations vendors can share, particularly if those recommendations are supported by key research and analytics.

Hein said he focuses on the displays and is constantly trying to improve their quality. “Our goal isn’t just to be the best truckstop. We want to be the best retailer,” he said, adding that he frequently taps into vendors’ expertise. “There is no reason to reinvent the wheel.”

Darren Schulte, NATSO's vice president of membership, recommends holiday and Christmas-themed merchandise have a scheduled mark down that begins three weeks prior to Christmas. “This cadence should follow through into the New Year with a goal to have all this merchandise sold by the second week of January,” he said.


{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. 

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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. More
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