NATSO Connect Learning Labs Offer Transformative Ideas for Travel Center Business Growth

NATSO Connect Learning Labs Offer Transformative Ideas for Travel Center Business Growth

NATSO Connect 2020, scheduled to be held Feb. 6-9 at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in Denver, Colorado, features carefully curated educational opportunities, including a selection of Learning Labs on Saturday, Feb. 8.

This year’s Learning Labs dig into key industry and retail topics designed to help truckstop and travel plaza operators stay ahead of the curve.

"While the keynotes at NATSO Connect are designed to give truckstops critical information on the trends that will impact their future, the Learning Labs provide the strategies to adapt to those trends. Attendees who participate in these Learning Labs will walk away with transformative ideas for business growth," said Amy Toner, vice president of publishing and digital content for NATSO.

In the first session, scheduled from 2:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., attendees can choose from two topics:

• The When, What Equipment and How Much of Electric Vehicle Charging:
There are more than 1 million electric cars on roads across the United States, and almost every vehicle manufacturer has plans to electrify a large part of its fleet, investing billions in new technologies over the coming years. What will the market look like in five years? Is grant money available? What type and mix of charging equipment makes the most sense for truckstops and travel centers? In this learning lab, attendees can expect to walk away with answers to these questions and more to be prepared for this growing fuel.

• Unboring: How Branding Guides Remarkable Customer Experiences
Despite the success of e-commerce and delivery concepts, brick-and-mortar retail is not dying but boring brick-and-mortar retail is. In today’s retail environment, it is more important than ever for truckstop and travel center operators to determine what makes their brand unique and how they can capitalize on that irreplaceable aspect of their business to create a remarkable customer experience. Branding expert Ernie Harker with Ernburn Brands will bring his knowledge as executive director of marketing for Maverik and discuss the branding techniques used to create the company's own raving fans. In this learning lab, Harker will walk attendees through some of the big and small brand touches that can create an experience. What do customers feel as they enter and navigate your store? Harker will share his ideas for making your customers feel the way you want them to.

During the second session, scheduled from 3:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., attendees can choose from the following:

• Hear from the PR Pros How to Proactively Handle Negative Feedback Online:
Whether you check your truckstop’s online reviews daily or haven’t claimed your Google Business listing, you can be sure potential customers are reading what others are saying about you online. Nearly 80 percent of adult internet users in the United States check online reviews before they make a purchase or visit a business, and that number is growing. Positive reviews are a powerful way to drive customers to your truckstop, but negative reviews can have the opposite effect. If someone slams you online, how should you respond? A panel of public relations professionals from within the industry will walk the audience through how to respond.

• Frictionless Payments: Why, How and What Your Truckstop Should be Doing:
The use of kiosk ordering and self-checkout lanes, which are often referred to as frictionless payments, has increased, and the public is using them everywhere from grocery stores to movie theaters and restaurants. For truckstops and travel centers, self-service technology can increase speed-of-service, allow locations to more efficiently utilize employee time and improve order accuracy. What’s more, today’s customers expect convenience, personalization, speed, efficiency, empowerment and seamlessness, which can be a tall order to fill. In this learning lab, attendees will learn about the technology, from the trends to the technology options to the impact on labor and customer experience.

During NATSO Connect 2020, truckstop operators and industry partners come together to share ideas, learn from retail and fuel industry experts and meet with key suppliers. The event is open to all travel plaza or truckstop owners, operators, managers, buyers and staff who want to increase their industry knowledge, gain business intelligence and buy new products. Registration is now open. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman
Vice President, Public Affairs
Phone: (703) 739-8578

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