How do the truck stops afford to maintain this many parking spots?
So, it seems today there is a lot of angst over such items as paid/reserved parking, free showers, and their expiration dates, customer loyalty reward points, and many other things we have seen as perks with a travel center chain of our choice. As I was thinking of this what if we make each item into a profit center?
In this case parking would be parking, fuel would be fuel, showers would be showers, meals would be meals, service in the shop would be service in the shop, and maybe even the pet walking area should have a fee to pay someone to clean up after users who do not pick up the deposits their pets leave upon the ground. We have all become accustomed to getting a shower and getting reward points for our purchase of fuel. Think of how unfair this is to the person who only needs fuel and does not need any of the other amenities associated with the travel center. Somewhere buried in the price of that fuel this driver who drives locally and is home every day is being burdened with paying for these additional services. I can even say in my case I do not have a pet along, but I am paying for the existence of a pet walking area. Wouldn’t the fairest and equitable way of providing each of these needed services with a fee instead of lumping them all into the fuel price?
Now let’s take a look at this through the eyes of the owner of the travel center. It is hard to compete on the fuel prices if you are providing all of these extra amenities without an additional fee. What ends up happening is a driver will go, and fuel at a location that does not offer any amenities with the allure of the low fuel price often times the drive then takes their rest break at one of the travel centers that has a large parking lot. I have talked to many of my peers in the industry, and their response is the full-service travel center is charging too much for their fuel. What ends up happening is customers will fuel at the non-amenity laden fueling location and then park at the travel center with the amenities and expect to use these facilities for free. This is often compounded by the customer making their own meals in the truck and not even using the restaurant of the facility.
This would all be cured if each of the areas I listed earlier were profit centers. If you want fuel you pay for fuel if you want to park pay for your parking spot if you want to shower pay for the shower if you want to eat pay for your food, and if you want to freeload go somewhere else. In the end you would never pull up to a steakhouse and set up your grill in the parking lot and make your dinner; however, this is really close to what is going on today at our much-needed travel centers.
Fellow Team Run Smart Pro Linda Caffee wrote about truck stop perks from her point of view:
There is a elephant in the room