Business travel rewards scheme sparks entrepreneurship

Friday, January 4, 2013

Business travel rewards scheme sparks entrepreneurship

Whether they choose to stay in corporate apartments or furnished extended stay units, many business travelers take advantage of rewards programs. Designed to encourage repeat business and offer a range of perks to members, these initiatives can be highly persuasive, especially for frequent travelers. According to The Globe and Mail, they also sparked the imagination of an entrepreneurial restaurateur.

A frequent traveler, Ian Risdon regularly flew to destinations all over North America, including Vancouver and Los Angeles. Using airline reward programs, he discovered several restaurants that eventually compelled him to launch his own eatery, PicNic, which opened in Toronto's Leslieville district in 2008.

"If it wasn’t for travelling for business, I wouldn’t have found [high-end Vancouver restaurant] Salt. It was then that I thought to open PicNic," Risdon told the news source.

Risdon and his wife regularly use business travel reward programs to visit new destinations and examine the menus of regional restaurants.

While loyalty programs have served travelers such as Risdon well, according to USA Today, proposed changes to the initiatives will leave some travelers with a bitter taste in their mouth. Many U.S. carriers, including Southwest and JetBlue recently adopted programs that reward customers based on the price of their fare, not for the total amount of trips taken.