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December 2, 2013

Hidden Costs of the Open Table Booking Widget

Open Table can turn into an addiction for restaurants. Restaurants are encouraged to add the Open Table booking widget to their website that eventually turns all their regular customers into Open Table customers where they trigger higher cover fees. Like a drug that gives you a sense of euphoria in the beginning, it later comes to control you. Reservation Genie offers rehab for Open Table addicts.

Linking Open Table to YOUR Website Feeds the Addiction.
Open Table lures you into this addiction by only charging you 25 cents per cover for reservations that originate from your website. However, they often discourage diners to book reservations from your website by not giving them Dining Reward Points, which is arguably the main reason diners utilize Open Table (see screen capture below). As a result, diners leave your website and visit so they can earn their points which costs you at least $1 per cover. This trains your customers to look for you on Open Table before visiting your website, which can lead to less website traffic over time. It also gives Open Table a chance to promote your competitors that are willing to pay $7.50 per cover as a POP reservation (commonly referred to as a 1000 point table) that we will discuss in the next section.

Steering your customers towards POP tables
Once Open Table converts your customer to theirs, they encourage them to book 1,000 point tables (POP Tables) that costs the restaurants that are willing to pay it $7.50 per person. If you aren’t wiling to pay the $7.50 per person price, you will lose some of your patrons to restaurants that will. You can see in the screen shot below that while searching Manhattan for availability that restaurants offering 1000 point tables are listed above other restaurants.

Open Table has created a bidding competition for restaurants to get back the diners that they sent to them in the first place. It starts with the higher fee of $1 per cover for reservations from their website. But the true hidden cost is the slow migration to $7.50 per cover for 1000 point tables. Next, we’ll discuss a way to break the habit and move away from an Open Table dependency.

The Cure: Just a Small Dose of Effort
Add a second reservation system to your operations that doesn’t charge cover fees (of course we suggest Reservation Genie:). Stay on Open Table so you get traffic from them but REPLACE the Open Table widget on your website with the alternative reservation system. Simply limit inventory on Open Table during peak times & you’ll never accidentally overbook. If you use Reservation Genie, we will also help you optimize your website to boost reservation conversion rates. And our Loyalty Tools will encourage customers to come back more often. Soon, you’ll receive more Reservation Genie covers (which are FREE!) than Open Table covers. Visit these links to schedule a demo or start a free trial today.

If you’re still not convinced, read this article to learn more about the Reservation Genie Booking Widget and how it can save you money and boost customer loyalty when compared to the Open Table booking widget.

Reservation Genie = Rehab for your Open Table addiction.

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