Monday 8 July 2013

Motorway prices and the Savvy Motorist

Motorway service areas are charging up to four times the high street price for basic food and drinks, according to new research by the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

With instances of charges up to £2.09 for a 500ml bottle of water vs. a 95p high street price, and a basic cheese sandwich costing £3.99 at some motorway service stations, as opposed to just £1.00 on a nearby high street, it would be reasonable to expect savvy motorists to carry basic provisions in order to reduce costs of using motorway facilities.

One approach might be to charge for washroom facilities, a la the old Ryanair on-board joke, but even this may reveal limits that cause the ultra-savvy driver to perhaps make less socially acceptable alternative arrangements when taken short...

To take a more positive approach to optimising the mix of holiday/guilt/pamper mode that prevents too critical a response to travel retail prices at airports, and taking note of the grocery multiples response to equivalent problems, perhaps motorway service operators should focus on enhancing the shopping experience, whilst reducing prices to a level that is just about acceptable in terms of value for money...(see Buying-mix-analysis ref competitive appeal)

This could present opportunities for NAMs to treat the service station as a retail business unit, and apply shopper marketing and category management techniques already proven in a classic retailing environment.

In applying this consultancy approach to the Motorway services station opportunity, the proactive NAM may also find it beneficial to add value by coaching the facilities manager on negotiating more realistic site rentals with the landlords, a key cost driver in travel retail...

No comments: