Study Hard Before NATSO's International Study Tour

Dan Alsaker shares his tips for preparing for NATSO’s International Study Tour.


For travel plaza and truckstop operators preparing to embark on NATSO’s International Study Tour, Dan Alsaker, Broadway Truck Stops, suggests they do their homework before they board the airplane. Alsaker speaks from experience and wants others to learn from his mistake.

“I went so unprepared. I didn’t pay any attention to the suppliers that were presenting or exhibiting because I didn’t think they’d affect me, but the fact is that 50 percent of them had a direct effect on the things I’m doing. I engaged in conversation with an actual end user and then went back to the vendor and talked some more. I ran out of time in almost every case. If I’d done my homework ahead of time, I would have been far ahead,” he said.

Alsaker said he walked away from the tour saying it was one of the best industry shows he has ever attended. “I met with people from Iceland, South Africa and Brazil,” he explained. We exchanged ideas as though we were sitting at a NATSO meeting in Las Vegas.


For the second year, NATSO is partnering with Insight to offer NATSO members a phenomenal learning trip to Europe. This year's International Study Tour, Sept. 24 - 28, begins in Oslo, Norway, with hosted retail study tours, transitions to the ‘Future of Convenience’ conference and exhibition in London and ends with an optional trip to Paris for a day of hosted retail visits.

Before leaving for the 2012 tour, Alsaker said he plans to look at the itinerary to view the locations the group will be visiting and doing online research to avoid “playing catch up” once he lands.

Alsaker said it was interesting to learn that most of the international operators were so familiar with operations in the U.S. “They’d all toured the US and had incorporated things we’re doing into their operations,” he said.

Still, Alsaker walked away with new solutions he learned from his international peers. “I was in awe of their inside produce presentation and how they channeled folks into the locations to keep the cars and trucks separate,” he said. “It was over the top.”


Register for the International Study Tour through NATSO to receive the NATSO member discounted rate of GBP 1680 plus VAT tax (estimated $3,158).


To take advantage of the NATSO group discount, download and submit the registration form. Or contact Darren Schulte at or (703) 739-8562. Registration must be complete by July 31, 2012.

/// Photos by Lisa Mullings, design by Amy Toner

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