Within global travel management strategies, loyalty programs for airlines, hotels, and car rental companies are a well-established way for corporate travel managers to reduce costs and earn points for booking with a preferred vendor. Not as well known is the existence of a loyalty program for business meal and entertainment expenses which can yield benefits of a similar nature.
Dinova, an Atlanta-based firm, has become the industry leader in this space, connecting business diners and quality restaurants nationwide. The firm tracks expenditures and issues rebates to corporations based on the volume spent with restaurants in their network. The size of that network is the key factor in the company’s success, with 20,000+ locations, including local independents as well as national restaurant chains, and encompassing all price levels and cuisines.
How Does it Work?
As part of a global travel management strategy, the traveler downloads Dinova’s mobile app which shows them participating restaurants for the location they are visiting. Whether it’s a meal for five or a sandwich for one, as long as the card used to pay for the purchase matches the one on file, a rebate is generated.
Dinova pays out rebates on over $7 billion in restaurant volume annually. Participating companies range from SMEs to Fortune 500 enterprises, with over one million registered accounts. Only firms with over one million dollars in annual dining expenses are eligible for Dinova’s cash rebate program, which sends out checks quarterly based on charges to your corporate credit card. Smaller businesses are eligible for their affiliate program with Mastercard (Easy Savings) which yields account credits as opposed to rebate checks. The network of participating restaurants is the same so you can simply transition between programs as your global travel management spend grows.
Having the buy-in of your travelers is crucial to your success as it is with any loyalty program. Dinova makes this easier by offering the employee personal reward points which can be redeemed for gift cards under the corporate program.
One Thing to Keep in Mind
As one of the best corporate travel agencies in Atlanta, we would be remiss at this point in not mentioning a potential conflict-of-interest with airline frequent flyer dining programs. Practically every domestic carrier has a dining program which delivers airline miles to members who register their credit card and use it to pay for meals at participating restaurants. What many don’t realize is that these programs are administered by the same vendor and you can only really collect miles through it on a single airline. Once you register with a second or third airline, the vendor moves your membership to the latest registration and the older registrations become inactive! (For a good article listing the available programs and their pay-out schedules, click here.) Obviously, corporate travel managers who qualify for the Dinova program would prefer their travelers participate in the one yielding rebate checks as opposed to airline miles.
The Savings Add Up
The savings from a global travel management loyalty program like this are welcome as the cost of the average restaurant meal is now $5 more than it was in 2016, according to expense program vendor Certify. In the same period an average airline ticket went down $40, while the average hotel rate went up $50. It is estimated that over $100 billion a year is spent on business lunches and dinners.
Tame this rogue expense item. Dining expense makes up 18% of the average travel spend, according to research from the best corporate travel agencies. This is an area of your budget you cannot afford to ignore!
Contact Teplis Travel today to learn other ways we can help you get your travel spend under control….