Sponsored by Dinova
Conventions and trade shows are notoriously big business. Major destination convention cities like Atlanta, Chicago and Orlando attract tens of thousands of corporate employees every year. According to Statista, 2017 revenues of U.S. convention and visitor bureaus in the United States are projected to reach nearly 2 billion dollars. Are these convention guests eating at your restaurant?
After working hard all day, conference goers often look for local restaurant diversions where they can relax and enjoy a meal. Attendees look to experience as much as they can about their destination city, especially if it’s a city that they’ve never visited before. For restaurateurs, this means a steady stream of out-of-town corporate guests hosting large business dinners with clients, or conference goers organizing multiple business meals out with colleagues also attending the conference.
Dinova, Inc., a $6B marketplace that exclusively connects business diners with quality restaurants nationwide, reports that managing the convention meal spend is a priority for its partner companies. In fact, Dinova’s business dining marketplace includes participation from more than 40% of Fortune 100 enterprises.
Dinova recently surveyed its corporate members about employee convention attendance and associated expenses.
The vast convention dining market offers restaurants virtually limitless opportunity, and the survey data offers insights for restaurants looking to fill more tables with desirable corporate guests.
- When asked how many employees go to conventions and tradeshows each year, 71% of respondents indicated that 100 or more employees attend conferences annually, and of that, 29% indicated that up to 2000 employees attend conferences.
- The majority of respondents (81%) say employees attend conventions for an average of three days. 14% report employees average attendance of two days. For an individual company sending 2000 employees, that’s up to 18,000 in annual business meals stemming from conventions and conferences.
- When making these dining choices, 52% rely on word of mouth from business colleagues, 48% rely on a corporate dining app such as Dinova, and 38% use a travel app. If you’re not participating in a business dining marketplace like Dinova, you’ll be missing out on nearly 50% of searches for nearby restaurants.
- 86% of business convention attendees typically host in-restaurant meals for their business prospects, customers or colleagues.
- Among companies who host hospitality suites, roughly 45% either always or frequently order catering services from local restaurants. Catering offers additional opportunities for restaurants to profit from convention and meeting events.
- 91% of survey respondents report gluten-free dining is a notable trend for employee meals or for entertaining. 73% noted vegetarian dining as an important trend. Restaurants can profit by offering the menu selections that business diners value, including healthy, gluten-free and vegetarian meal choices.
How Do Business Convention Diners Find You?
As early as 2015, 88% of event producers and meeting planners expected their attendees would consider mobile event apps to be critical or important to their event experience. Growing numbers of corporations and meeting organizers now rely on technology to help attendees connect, navigate exhibitions and keep up with changing schedules.
Dinova’s business marketplace app allows business diners to search for restaurants in its network based on their location. For restaurants, it’s a way to seamlessly reach convention attendees whenever they are in town.
Ted Laymon, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Il Fornaio, understands convention traffic is big business. “Through partnerships like Dinova we are able to actively increase our volume of banquets and large, a-la-carte parties at our restaurants. Convention related business represents a huge percentage of our business at both of our Las Vegas properties.”
Here are a few things to consider when looking to cash in on convention dining:
- Position your restaurant where convention-goers search. Growing numbers use corporate dining apps like Dinova to identify nearby restaurants, sorted by type of cuisine or distance from the convention site.
- Deliver strong value for corporations. Create special convention meal deals. These can be promoted tableside at no cost, and digitally through a business dining app.
- Highlight specialty dietary selections such as gluten-free and vegetarian menu choices to allow business diners with dietary restrictions a simplified way to locate suitable restaurants.
Cash in on a lucrative guest like the convention business diner by participating in a restaurant network that brings the business to you.
To learn about how your restaurant can reach more corporate diners with Dinova, please visit Dinova.com or call 888-DINOVA8 (888-346-6828).