BYU has launched a Web site that contains a listing of discounts and offers designated especially for its employees by off-campus businesses. The site, found at http://byudiscounts.byu.edu, provides a way for these businesses to communicate a significant benefit to BYU employees in a non-intrusive way.
According to John C. Lewis, BYU's associate advancement vice president for alumni and external relations, off-campus merchants and vendors regularly approach BYU, looking for a way to make special discounts available to BYU employees.
"Our long-standing university policy precludes outside businesses, agencies or individuals from advertising, selling or soliciting on campus," Lewis says. "One rationale behind the policy is to shield our university community from a barrage of commercial appeals. Unfortunately, that means our employees may not be aware of many attractive discounts available to them from local merchants."
"We looked at what some other employers in the area are doing and thought we would try providing a Web site where interested employees could find out about available discounts," says Lewis. "If you're interested, you should regularly check out the site. If you're not interested, you don't need to bother. It seems like an effective way of making the information available to those who want it while not inconveniencing those who do not."
The Web site, BYUdiscounts.byu.edu, is simply an online catalog of the various purchasing discounts for BYU employees that have been shared with the university. To receive a given discount, employees visit the participating business and show their BYU ID cards. Only BYU employees, their spouses, and their children may take part in the program. The employee, however, does not need to be present as long as the BYU ID is displayed and the purchaser is identified as an immediate family member of the BYU employee.
Services can be viewed by provider name are within category clusters, ranging from vehicles, food and financial offerings to cell phones, clothing and travel. Since the Web site is still in a pilot phase, Lewis expects that categories may change as more off-campus businesses become aware of the opportunity to reach BYU employees.
"What we have now is not even a shadow of the growth we anticipate," says Brett Eden, an external relations staff specialist who heads a committee that reviews each offer. "Intermountain Health Care, for example, offers online discounts to its employees, and its site has expanded to include more than 5,000 discounts. We encourage interested employees to check the site regularly for new discounts that have been posted."
Eden also encourages employees to talk to local businesses and invite them to use the site. Businesses wanting to participate must submit their proposals by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out an electronic form.
Many submissions do not have expiration dates, but the site also accommodates businesses with short-term offers. For instance, a local theater company recently offered substantially discounted $3 tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday night performances of a popular play that cost up to $14.50 for a weekend evening
While BYU reviews each offer for compliance with program guidelines, it neither endorses nor recommends the discounts. Additionally those employees who choose to participate are responsible for all costs associated with the benefit. If something goes wrong, employees should ask the business manager and try to resolve the issue or contact the BYU employee discount program via e-mail at email@example.com.
Writer: Charlene Winters