Sponsored by Dinova.
October traditionally brings the year’s heaviest business travel before the start of the hectic holiday season. Traveling sales representatives, year-end team meetings, and corporate obligations make the fall a time for heavy business travel - and correspondingly strong business meal spend by these out-of-town business travelers. For you, it’s an opportunity to take advantage of the incremental sales from profitable, out-of-town business guests.
Business travelers are not spending their own money – they’re dining on their company’s dime. Traveling expense account diners arrive in a city at all hours of the day, from different time zones, and they need to eat somewhere when they land. They fill weekday seats during non-peak hours, including early afternoon for lunch and early evening and late evening for dinner.
More often than not, a business diner is traveling to a city that is unfamiliar to them. Earlier this year, Dinova market research, conducted with The BTN Group, reported that 55 percent of corporate travel managers described travel to new destinations as one of the contributing factors for increased business dining spend in the past 12 months.
Since business travelers don’t know the local restaurant scene, they rely heavily on restaurant location apps and their company’s guidelines for help in making good dining choices. When the company is part of Dinova, a marketplace that exclusively connects expense account diners to quality restaurants,
they’re directed to Dinova’s network of more than 14,000 participating restaurants nationwide. Business diners use the Dinova app to find and easily book restaurants pre-screened for quality and approved by their organizations. This is especially useful for travelers on the road, planning business meals long-distance, or making arrangements for others in their organization.
Richard Allum, Marketing Director of Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria, a multi-unit pizza chain in San Francisco, recognizes the value of connecting with business travelers. “Dinova is the perfect channel for growth. Over 85% of Amici’s Dinova business is mid-week. Travelers eat out every meal while on the road. Dinova connects us directly with guests from out-of-town – people we otherwise wouldn’t reach.”
Merck Sales Team shares priorities for restaurant selection
Dinova, who’s business dining marketplace includes more than 40% of the highest travel spending companies in the U.S., often surveys employees from participating companies to find out how restaurants can serve business diners better. Recently, Dinova asked road warriors from Merck, one of largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, how they make local restaurant selections while traveling for company business. Convenience, culinary interests and menu variety turned up at the top of their list.
Business travelers have distinct priorities when planning business meals, depending on their situation. Below are a few highlights from their feedback that can help your restaurant become a top pick for traveling business diners:
Lone business travelers
Traveling for business can be grueling at times. Travelers are tired, perhaps with flight delays, and looking for a place to unwind and do a little last minute work - finalizing slides for their upcoming presentation, catching up on emails, or returning missed calls from the office. For those who travel often, staying in shape and eating healthy become high priorities.
- When traveling alone, business diners list a convenient location (36%), healthy food (21%), and an interesting menu (11%) as important factors in choosing a restaurant.
- Respondent top priorities were for “clean and good food.” They note that “time is usually at a premium.” They’re less concerned with ambience than efficiency.
Business diners often travel with colleagues. Dining decisions are usually a group affair, with differing tastes and desires. As a result, menu variety immerges as a top priority.
- When deciding where to eat with a large group, menu variety (28%) and ambience (specifically a quiet atmosphere for conversation) (24%) rise in importance.
- Interests focused on “the ability to accommodate the whole group.” They note that a diverse menu that accommodate various diets and restrictions” are important decision factors.
When entertaining clients, business travelers look for restaurants with a good reputation, high quality food, and great service. Culinary interest also ranked high, confirming that unique and memorable food is always a plus.
- When entertaining clients or prospects, business diners consider multiple factors before making the reservation. Ambience and vibe (33%) and private dining options (16%) are key.
- Comments from respondents included: “Noise level is always a concern.” “Prefer private dining area to avoid noise from other patrons.”
For the full report on traveler dining preferences and decision drivers, click here.