Monday, February 19th
Travel Center New Builds and Remodels Pre-Event Workshop
9:00 am – 11:30 am
Provided in Partnership With
Investing in a travel center new build or remodel starts long before ground is broken.
It starts with a site investigation, feasibility study and deep due diligence. This new workshop will cover:
- How to identify sites to build on;
- What a feasibility study is, what it should cover and what questions you should be sure it answers; and
- What due diligence should you do before you begin the project.
In addition, Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president, membership, will bring his expertise to the workshop. Schulte is well known for his observational analysis about the travel center industry. He knows what a successful travel center will look like in five years and will help guide the discussion with his crystal ball in hand.
Perhaps most importantly, the workshop will include time to network, allowing attendees to grow their professional network of operators who are also performing new builds. Gather the info on their great architect, hear that one mistake they regret from their last project and gather inspiration from their great ideas for future builds.
Attendees will also walk away with a toolkit full of resources and checklists to complete their projects. (Space is limited and an additional fee of $150 is required.)
CEO – RJP Consulting Group
Senior Client and Program Manager – RJP Consulting Group
Vice President, Membership – NATSO
Travel Center Speed Networking
1:00 pm – 2:15 pm
New! Make new contacts full of ideas to meet your challenges on Monday by participating in the new Travel Center Speed Networking. Bring your business cards and prepare to grow your professional network through facilitated networking. Closed to press.
Great Ideas! Workshop
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
NATSO’s annual Great Ideas! Workshop is dedicated time for truck stop and travel centers operators to share great ideas that have helped their business and hear about the great ideas their peers have implemented. Do you have a great idea that has helped your business? Wouldn’t you like to hear the great ideas your peers have implemented? The annual NATSO Connect favorite is sure to provide new and fresh ideas. Closed to press.
Generously Sponsored By:
(Participation is limited to truck stop and travel center attendees and the Great Ideas! Workshop sponsors.)
Director of Research – FranData
Executive Director – NATSO Foundation
NATSO Connect Opening Keynote – A New Era for Fuel Retailers
4:30 pm – 5:45 pm
A rapidly evolving refueling landscape coupled with technological advancements and changing customer habits presents fuel retailers with an opportunity to reimagine their operations and usher in a new era.
A report from the Boston Consulting Group found that the industry’s abundance of assets, including established networks, real estate, transaction volume, data as well as customer touch points and loyalty programs, is affording travel centers a crucial gateway to diversification.
Whether it’s growing non-fuel revenues or pursuing sustainability objectives, these developments point to the need for fuel retailers to reorient themselves: “toward alternatives and away from the vehicle and toward the customer,” Boston Consulting Group said in its latest report on the travel center industry.
After a warm NATSO Connect welcome from Joe Zietlow, NATSO’s 2024 Chairman of the Board, and Lisa Mullings, NATSO’s President and CEO, Tony Portera, managing director and partner with Boston Consulting Group, will share Boston Consulting Groups’ guidance on how fuel retailers should transform their businesses given these disruptions.
Portera’s analysis of the powerful forces changing the fuel retailing market is a must-listen for everyone planning a company’s future in highway fuel retail – a can’t-miss to kick off NATSO Connect!
President & CEO – NATSO
Managing Director and Partner – Boston Consulting Group
Industry and Trade Assc. Manager – Kwik Trip
Tuesday, February 20th
Building the Travel Center of the Future…Today!: NATSO Connect Keynote and Breakfast
9:30 am – 10:30 am
Polly Flinn, founder and principal of Flinnstone Strategies, is an industry expert in creating customer-focused, convenience formats that make their numbers. Travel centers have the opportunity to increase share by creating a compelling and consistent brand experience to grow traffic, loyalty, sales, and profit. For this new keynote, Flinn will share new insights into the future of travel center retail, offering her expertise on customer segments, brand experience, and retail offers.
Most recently serving as Executive Vice President and President for the GetGo Cafe+Market banner in the supermarket chain Giant Eagle, Flinn has brought innovation and success to companies such as BP, Walmart, Castrol, Arco ampm and Giant Eagle/GetGo. Flinn is an innovator and a doer. For years, she held c-suite roles at these retailers while focusing on building new concepts, rebranding, delivering strategic solutions to help them grow while challenging the status quo.
In other words, when it comes to travel centers that stand out, excel operationally, and are customer-focused, Flinn knows her stuff. Wish you could hire to Flinn revamp your business model? Attendees of NATSO Connect will hear from Flinn on the following topics:
- How customer segments are evolving and what their needs will be in 2030.
- Who is winning and who is losing – how travel center brands can become more of a destination beyond their real estate position.
- What can we learn from others, and who is challenging the status quo to win customer share in retail outside of the travel centers sector.
- What you should consider to challenge the status quo in your offer.
Following her remarks, a panel of industry innovators will join Flinn for an engaging and thought-provoking discussion on how travel centers might stir things up in their sector before new entrants do.
Founder & Principal – Flinnstone Consulting
Founder & CEO – Food Forward Thinking, LLC
NATSO Connect Keynote and Lunch
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Stay tuned! Details to come soon.
2:00 pm – 2:45 pm
Similar in concept to a popular network TV show, sponsors will have the opportunity to pitch their product or idea in front of an audience and live on stage. In each 5-minute presentation, the audience will vote on products or services sure to improve the travel center wallet share. (Vendors can learn more about how to participate in a Tank Talks here.)
Opportunities to Grow Wallet Share Workshop
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
New Workshop! A 2023 NATSO Services research study found that there are significant opportunities to boost sales at truck stops and travel centers. A panel of travel center experts and operators will lead an interactive workshop on ways to get more customers inside making more purchases more often.
The panel will provide tactical ideas to grow wallet sharing by looking at:
- Speed of service
Vice President – Marketing – Onvo
Founder & CEO – Convenience & Energy Advisors
CEO – Acuity, LLC
Wednesday, February 21st
Washington Watch: The Changing Advocacy and Political Engagement Landscape: NATSO Connect Keynote and Breakfast
9:30 am – 10:30 am
NATSO’s government affairs team will explore the current political environment in Washington and its impact on how the travel center and the off-highway fuel retailing industry advocates. Having worked closely with policymakers on energy and transportation issues, NATSO’s government affairs team has observed a shift in how policy is crafted and how NATSO members can engage their lawmakers.
Join us for a robust discussion of the national political landscape as well as the evolving approach to advocacy in Washington. Plan to attend and learn how operators and vendors can work together to advance our shared advocacy goals.
Generously Sponsored By:
Executive Vice President
of Government Affairs – NATSO
Senior Policy Advisor – NATSO
Senior Director of
Government Affairs – NATSO
Role of Renewable Diesel in Reducing Trucking’s Carbon Footprint and What it Means for Travel Centers: NATSO Connect Keynote and Lunch
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Renewable diesel represents the best opportunity for reducing carbon emissions from the commercial trucking sector for the foreseeable future. The California Air Resources Board (CARB)’s recent announcement that renewable diesel and biodiesel replaced more than 50 percent of diesel fuel in the state for the first time coupled with Cummins Inc.’s approval of the use of renewable diesel across its entire line of diesel- powered engines serve as a testament to the longstanding contributions made by trucking fleets and their refueling partners in reducing carbon emissions from over-the-road transportation.
Join NATSO Vice President of Public Affairs Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman at NATSO Connect 2024 as she interviews a panel of industry stakeholders about the important role of renewable diesel in reducing trucking’s carbon footprint. Panelists include: Dan Murray, Senior Vice President of the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), who will discuss ATRI’s newest white paper on renewable diesel; as well as Jim Mullen, Executive Director of the Clean Freight Coalition, a leading advocacy group urging EPA to adopt a more realistic proposal for transitioning commercial fleets to lower carbon technology that doesn’t overlook existing lower-carbon fuels.
Executive Director – Clean Freight Coalition
Senior Vice President –American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI)
Vice President and General Manager, North America On-highway – Cummins, Inc.
Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman
Vice President, Public Affairs – NATSO
Technology at the Fuel Island Tech Forum
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
The Travel Center Technology Forum is designed to facilitate interactive discussions among truck stops and travel center operators regarding their top technology priorities.
In 2024, the Tech Forum will explore technologies outside at the fuel island.
Technology to purchase fuel at the pump, allow users to pay for fuel and give them a seamless experience while at the diesel pump is exploding. In this working session, a panel of experts will explore these trends in fuel technology:
- AI is changing fuel supply management and pricing;
- The options to pay outside at the pump are exploding;
- are growing; and
- Pump technology is advancing, allowing a seamless loyalty and food experience.
Operators should come prepared to hear about these trends, learn of vendors offering these technologies, and share at their table on their own fuel island technology experience.
IT Manager – Support & Services – Sapp Bros.
Executive Co-Founder & President – TRUEFILL
COO – NATSO
Thursday, February 22nd
NATSO Connect Retail Tour
10:15 am – 1:00 pm
NATSO retail tours allow NATSO members to tour best–in–class retail locations, gather great ideas from successful travel center operators, and network with other truck stop and travel center operators in attendance!
In 2024, attendees will tour a Wawa and Racetrac. (Participation is limited to truck stop and travel center attendees and Retail Tour sponsors. Space is limited, and RSVP is required.)