Stephanie Myers, External Communications Supervisor
Memorial Day – a time to honor our fallen veterans – is also considered the unofficial kickoff of the summer travel season, with more than 36.6 million* Americans on the road last year over the long weekend visiting friends and family while paying tribute to our American heroes. Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers in North America, is marking the start of the summer road trip season by declaring the Friday before Memorial Day weekend (May 24, 2019) as National Road Trip Day and celebrating with a discount for guests. Consistently one of the busiest days of the year at Pilot and Flying J travel centers, locations see an increase in gas and food sales by nearly 15 percent, as well as an average of almost five million gallons of gas sold** on this day.
To find out why so many people are road tripping, Pilot Flying J commissioned a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults who take at least one road trip per year. The study revealed that people opt for a road trip over other forms of transportation for flexibility and cost savings. Specifically, the study found:
- The top reasons people take road trips are that it’s cheaper (57 percent), they have more control over the trip and plans (51 percent) and they like being able to stop whenever they want along the way (50 percent).
- Almost one-third (31 percent) of road trippers say they’d hit the road more often if they had a rewards program that made it cheaper to travel by car.
- Further, two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents say that they would be more likely to stop at a rest stop that has mobile rewards and fuel discount programs.
Fortunately for road trippers, the new Pilot Flying J app can save drivers time and money with a more personalized experience tailored to their type of travel, location, preferences and needs. There are several ways guests can save money with the app, including a 3-cent gas or auto diesel discount and exclusive offers on favorite food items and drinks when the app is used at the time of purchase.
To celebrate National Road Trip Day, drivers can enter the promo code “ROADTRIP” in the Pilot Flying J app starting May 21 to save an offer for $5 off their next purchase of $10 or more. The offer can be redeemed May 21-27***.
“We are excited to celebrate the kick-off to the busy summer travel season with National Road Trip Day and to reward our guests with something to make their road trips even more enjoyable,” said Whitney Haslam Johnson, chief experience officer for Pilot Flying J. “We strive to be the perfect road trip stop, providing guests with everything they need to have a successful trip, including clean bathrooms, a large selection of snacks, food and beverage offerings, and even those easily forgotten items like phone chargers.”
The study also revealed road trippers’ must-haves for a successful trip. The majority of respondents say the essentials for a trip are food, entertainment and clean restrooms. Specifically:
- Three in five road trippers (59 percent) say that having good snacks and drinks for the road, finding great places to eat on the way and finding clean bathrooms to use while traveling are the most important parts of a successful road trip.
- The top “road trip essential” snacks are chips and salty foods (52 percent), freshly made, grab-and-go foods (50 percent) and fast food options (49 percent).
- For millennials and Gen Z, it’s all about what happens in the car. They place more value on having music, audio books and/or podcasts to listen to (67 percent), good snacks and drinks (63 percent) and good conversations (52 percent).
- Meanwhile, Gen X and boomers care about taking stops along the way, placing more value on finding clean bathrooms (67 percent), great places to eat (63 percent) and pleasant places to stop, rest and stretch their legs (56 percent).
Additionally, when making a stop for their road trip necessities, the study found that travelers primarily (58 percent) want to stop at all-in-one rest stops (offers gas, food, drinks, coffee, bathrooms, etc.) to save time and money. With 750 travel center locations in North America, Pilot Flying J is a convenient, one-stop shop for travelers, offering clean bathrooms, a large assortment of snacks, beverages and food, and necessities travelers may have forgotten to pack. For instance, road trippers can pick up a delicious Pilot Coffee, one of the many made-in-house on-the-go offerings from PJ Fresh such as breakfast burritos, salads, fresh fruit cups, pizza and sandwiches, and road trip necessities like a phone charger or sunglasses.
Two in five (42 percent) road trippers find travel apps very helpful when planning their trip, and the new Pilot Flying J app makes it easier than ever with its enhanced trip planner feature. The trip planner helps users create their route and find Pilot and Flying J locations along the way, showcasing specific amenities, fuel prices and more.
*According to an INRIX research study; May 14, 2018
**According to Pilot Flying J sales data from January 6, 2017 to March 1, 2019
*** Excludes fuel, alcohol, lottery and cigarettes.
****Data rates may apply.
Zeno Group Research & Insights conducted an online survey among n = 1,000 U.S. adults aged 18+ (nationally representative sample) who take at least one road trip per year, defined as driving two or more hours on highways/interstates not including commuting to work. The survey was conducted on April 11-13, 2019 and has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage at a 95 percent confidence level.
About Pilot Flying J
Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers in North America, is committed to connecting people and places with comfort, care and a smile at every stop. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Pilot Flying J has more than 750 retail locations in 44 states, roadside assistance available at over 135 locations nationwide and growing as part of its Truck Care program, 44 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers, and 34 Boss Shops. The Pilot Flying J network provides drivers with access to more than 72,000 parking spaces for trucks with Prime Parking at more than 400 locations, 5,200 deluxe showers and more than 6,200 diesel lanes with 5,200 offering Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) at the pump. Pilot Flying J is currently ranked No. 14 on Forbes' list of America's Largest Private Companies. Visit https://pilotflyingj.com/ for more information.