By Heather Thompson, Public Relations Manager, Dinova
With the Global Business Travel Association’s annual convention just behind us, it’s no wonder everyone is talking about business travel. It’s a hot topic that gets even hotter when we talk about how much business travel actually costs. (Don’t worry, procurement managers, we’re all feeling the same swelter.)
There’s no doubt that managing a travel program is much easier – and ensures your employees receive the best experience possible – when you partner with the right vendors. So, you negotiate the most advantageous contracts with one major airline, one hotel group, one rental car provider, and all is dandy. When it comes to putting together a dining program, however, the sheer number of possible vendors and contracts becomes overwhelming, a herculean task that hardly seems worth the effort. Or is it?
More than $77B is spent annually on business dining in the United States, according to an AMEX and GBTA study released in 2017. That total alone makes it the third largest category of overall T&E spend and clearly identifies dining as a topic worth discussion. But with approximately 640,000 restaurants across the nation, what would a managed dining program even look like?
It should look a lot like any other preferred vendor initiative: one source offering your employees a range of options, enabling them to have a great travel experience while also complying with your travel policy. What else should be included? Discounts or rebates of some kind that gives companies an incentive to use only their services. What makes an outstanding preferred program is understanding the traveler and what they really want.
At Dinova, business dining is always on our mind. We’re always hungry for insights about what makes business diners tick, what’s going on in the restaurant world, and how we can nourish connections between these two passions. In partnership with GBTA, we conducted an in-depth survey of U.S. business travelers in Spring 2018, delving into trends in diners’ habits, technology use, and company expense policies, while also uncovering fascinating generational differences.
Key among our findings: 60 percent of respondents said their organizations do not have any dining program at all, but 74 percent would be motivated to participate in one if they earned rewards for themselves or for the company. Clearly, there’s a huge opportunity for companies to capture employee attention and engagement with a preferred dining program. If you could bring back some of that spend, wouldn’t you?
For more information about Dinova, visit our website at www.dinova.com/company.
About the Author: Heather Thompson, public relations manager at Dinova since 2016, honed her Media Relations skills at a range of organizations, from a boutique PR firm to a Fortune 500 powerhouse. She recently completed her master’s degree in Strategic Public Relations from The George Washington University, and, when not using her PR powers to change the world, can typically be found in a small suburb of Atlanta riding her horses.
Dinova provides companies with an innovative marketplace filled with restaurants and enterprise partners who understand the value of a business patron dining on official company business and know that the connections made over a meal drive understanding and shared perspectives that establish lifelong relationships. Dinova nourishes those connections to create value for restaurants, companies, and the business people we serve every day.