Truckstops Cater to Changing Demographic
Sep 1, 2001 12:00 PM
Fresh produce, computer rooms, and products and services geared toward female drivers are some of the additions to travel plazas and truckstops, according to a new study released by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The study, More than Fuel: An Analysis of Factors Influencing Non-Fuel Sales at Truckstops and Travel Plazas, was prepared at the request of The NATSO Foundation.
Travel plaza and truckstop managers are “seeing a shift in demographic makeup of trucks drivers. Specifically, they pointed out that there are more women truckers, especially as team drivers with their husbands,” the researchers said.
The study also observes that more young drivers are on the road. “To appeal to women and younger drivers, travel plazas and truckstops know they must evolve,” said Ernie Brame, general manager of the TravelCenters of America in Kenly North Carolina, and chairman of the committee that commissioned the study. Some locations are even adding amenities such as bathtubs, cosmetics, and movie theaters.
Fuel sales are still a travel plaza and truckstop's lifeblood. However, now non-fuel sales are an increasingly important component of a travel plaza's bottom line, in some cases accounting for as much as one-third of revenues. Because trucking fleets can negotiate fuel margins with truckstops, operators are always searching for other profitable services and products to offer.
Even though fuel still accounts for most of a truckstop's sales, the study's survey of drivers indicates that truckers are just as likely to stop for food and drink as they are for diesel. Another survey included in the study bears this out, as drivers name drinks, sit-down meals, and snacks as the most desirable goods.
The full report can be ordered for $50 by accessing the web site at www.natsofoundation.org/research/main.html or by phoning Sharon Corigliano at 703-739-8561.
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