While travel managers can often negotiate preferred rates with hotels and even airlines, the same strategy typically doesn’t work with restaurants. Getting your business travelers to eat at preferred restaurants can be a major headache, as can tracking and managing dining expenses that come from a vast variety of different eateries.
DID SOMEONE SAY FREE FOOD?
Enter Dinova, a marketplace that connects corporate travelers with preferred restaurants that encourages the former to eat at the latter with a simple yet effective method: loads of perks.
Dinova has rolled out a loyalty program for corporate travelers that lets travelers rack up points based on the amount of money they spend at preferred restaurants. Travelers can then use those points to obtain gift certificates for use at the preferred restaurants when they’re back at home.
Businesses also benefit from the program, with companies receiving a cash rebate on their employees’ dining expenses.
DINOVA’S INCENTIVE STRATEGY THUS BENEFITS EVERYONE INVOLVED:
- Companies get money back when employees eat at preferred restaurants
- Employees get points they can use for preferred restaurant gift cards they can redeem on their own
- Preferred restaurants enjoy an increase in business from travelers hungry to spend money in their establishments
- Dinova gets a part of the rebate that goes to businesses, which means no one has to pay anything up front
One final perk that particularly benefits travel managers is Dinova’s management of the entire process on the back-end, with all invoicing happening seamlessly behind the scenes.
SEEMS TO BE WORKING
Dinova says meals and entertainment rank as the third-highest travel expense for businesses. And even though the marketplace was bringing in the clients, it was having a tough time bringing the business travelers to preferred restaurants within the network.
The incentive program may change all that, with results already apparent. Dinova CEO Vic Macchio noted a number of corporations have hopped on board once the incentive model was introduced, keen on participating in a program that gives them “the rebates they’re looking for.”
Macchio said the missing link in the equation had been the lack of focus on the end-user, or the traveler themselves. Traveler managers are increasingly realizing the importance of making the traveler happy, and how doing so is key to netting the desired results.
Dinova marketplace members already include larger corporations that range from Siemens to SAP, along with hundreds of smaller companies. It expects travel managers will be eager to spread the word to their employees about the service, since travelers will now receive tangible motivation to eat at network restaurants.
As Macchio remarked, “There’s nothing like having that individual incentive there for business travelers.”
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Our choice of Chrome River EXPENSE was made in part due to the very user-friendly interface, easy configurability, and the clear commitment to impactful customer service – all aspects in which Chrome River was the clear winner. While Chrome River is not as large as some of the other vendors we considered, we found that to be a benefit and our due diligence showed that it could support us as well as any large players in the space, along with a personalized level of customer care.
We are excited to be able to enforce much more stringent compliance to our expense guidelines and significantly enhance our expense reporting and analytics. By automating these processes, we will be able to free up AP time formerly spent on manual administrative tasks, and enhance the role by being much more strategic.