toptable, the leading consumer destination site for restaurant bookings in the UK along with its parent company, OpenTable, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPEN), today announced the release of a major update to its free app for Android mobile devices. The new app, which is now available in the Google Play store, provides an enhanced booking experience for diners looking to book the perfect table at approximately 4,000 restaurants across the UK.
The new toptable Android app allows diners to search for available tables nearby using geolocation or in a specified neighbourhood, make an instantly confirmed booking and discover new restaurants through a convenient and easy to navigate design. The new ‘Great Tables’ feature showcases highly rated restaurants with availability according to the specified search criteria, right on the start screen. Diners may also view mobile optimised menus, browse popular dish photos from Foodspotting and read reviews from other verified toptable diners.
“We are especially pleased to bring improved functionality and efficiency to our dining community using Android mobile devices to make bookings on the go,” said Mike Xenakis, Managing Director, OpenTable International. “Finding and booking a great restaurant for any occasion is quick and simple with the new toptable Android app,” he added.
The new toptable app for Android makes it simple for diners to instantly find and make a confirmed restaurant booking with a tap of their phone. The app’s geolocation feature makes it easy to find available tables nearby according to a diner’s desired date, time and party size. Using the app’s refine feature, diners can further filter their search results by location, cuisine, price and special offers. The new app also provides instant access to photos, menus, reviews, maps and directions. toptable members may view upcoming reservations from the app and earn dining points for each booking.
toptable continues to see a growing number of diners booking via mobile devices.During the second quarter of 2013, mobile bookings accounted for 28 percent of toptable diners seated in the UK. The toptable app for Android is part of the company’s growing suite of mobile products including apps for iOS, Windows Phone 8 and a mobile optimised site (http://m.toptable.co.uk) that allow diners to make free restaurant bookings at approximately 4,000 top restaurants in the UK from a smartphone or tablet. More information about the entire suite of toptable mobile products can be accessed here.
As the online landscape changes, it is important to re-create your restaurant’s personality across the various social channels, it was revealed on Tuesday 5th March at a panel discussion hosted by OpenTable at the ScotHot Hospitality show in Glasgow.
Mobile has brought a massive shift. Now people ask, ‘what’s near me and where can I go?,’ commented Polly Vincent, kicking off the conversation.
Social media has unseated traditional print and even email marketing as the preferred means for engaging with customers and promoting special events. “We use Facebook and Twitter quite a bit. It’s important to update Facebook regularly,” commented Michele Mooney.
“We used to use e-flyers every week, but now just for larger events,” added Mooney.
Making your online presence personal
“When using social media, you have to re-create your restaurant’s personality online. People want to go to restaurants they feel they have a personal connection,” commented Ian Bruce. “Many people have come through our doors because of comments I have made replying to reviews on TripAdvisor,” he added.
Making your online presence personal also helps to mitigate negative feedback and the dreaded ‘tit-tat’ forum banter. “People are less likely to say something horrible if they know you. It is an opportunity and you have to think about your response,” added Mooney.
“Draft replies to reviews in a Word document first to allow for more time and space to compose a message,” advised Bruce.
Polly Vincent of TripAdvisor agreed that it is a good idea to pause and take a breath before you respond. On TripAdvisor, the business has the last word. If someone writes a review and the establishment responds, that’s it.
TripAdvisor research has shown that when a manager responds, brand perception is improved.
Transition to mobile
Acknowledging that tablet and mobile real estate is smaller, the panel advised viewing your restaurant’s website from your phone, tablet and computer to make sure it views properly across all platforms.
The Plumed Horse has a mobile optimised website which clearly displays restaurant and booking information as part of a feature offered for free to OpenTable customers.
“Try lots of different things and see what works for you. Measurement is important,” added Mooney.
“Be true to yourself. Be very aware of where your customers are talking about you and engage in those spaces,” said Vincent.
“Knowledge of how to present yourself is key. Too many emails annoy me. There needs to be a happy medium. We should be respectful of how we use these online tools,” cautioned Bruce.
“It’s important not to lose sight of what actually happens in your restaurant – it comes down to the food and knowing your guests and extending that experience to your social channels,” advised Adrian Valeriano of OpenTable.
A before and after image of the mobile optimisation.
Free service is designed to help restaurateurs capitalise on the shift to mobile devices by making restaurant websites mobile-friendly
OpenTable (NASDAQ: OPEN), a leading provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners and reservation and guest management solutions for restaurants, together with toptable, the company’s leading consumer destination site for restaurant reservations in the UK, today introduced a free service that makes it easy for its restaurant customers to optimise their websites for mobile devices.
The new service is designed to help restaurateurs capitalise on the massive shift toward mobile by making restaurant websites more user-friendly and functional on smartphones. The service, powered by DudaMobile, is quick and easy to use and the before and after results are dramatic without sacrificing the branding and elegance of the restaurant’s desktop website.
“More than ever, diners are choosing where to eat and making bookings based on information accessed on their mobile devices, yet the majority of restaurant websites are not designed for mobile use,” said Mike Xenakis, Managing Director of OpenTable Europe. “By removing the added time and cost required to create and host mobile-friendly sites, we are making it simple for restaurants to reap the benefits of the shift to mobile.”
According to the latest Ofcom Communications Market Report, 39 percent of adults in the UK now own a smartphone and the same percentage indicates their phone is the most important device for accessing the internet. Yet OpenTable estimates that fewer than 10 percent of reservation-taking restaurants have mobile optimised sites.
Consistent with increased smartphone usage, OpenTable has experienced a growing number of diners who are choosing to book via mobile devices. In the second quarter of 2012, reservations booked on mobile devices accounted for 20 percent of diners seated in the UK. In North America OpenTable has seated more than 30 million diners through reservations booked on mobile devices, representing more than $1 billion (£623m) in revenue for OpenTable restaurant customers (based on a check average of $42.50 (£26.5) per person as reported by OpenTable restaurant customers)[i].
“We are increasingly aware that our guests explore where to dine, access vital information and ultimately want to make a booking through their mobile device,” said Didier Souillat, Chief Operating Officer of Hakkasan Ltd. “OpenTable is making it easy for us to stay on top of the shift to mobile by providing a simple way to create a mobile-friendly site, ensuring our guests have access to the information they seek, quickly and efficiently.”
To take advantage of the free service, OpenTable restaurant customers in the UK, U.S. and Canada must claim their mobile site through OpenTable Restaurant Center before 1 February 2013. Customers who sign-up by the deadline will enjoy the service for free as long as they’re an OpenTable customer and comply with the terms and conditions of the service. Customers who sign up after 31 January 2013 will have access to the service for a nominal monthly fee. Restaurants interested in becoming customers of OpenTable can learn more by visiting the Restaurateurs: Join Us section of the OpenTable website.
OpenTable is a leading provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners and reservation and guest management solutions for restaurants. The OpenTable network delivers the convenience of online restaurant reservations to diners and the operational benefits of a computerized reservation book to restaurants. OpenTable has more than 25,000 restaurant customers, and, since its inception in 1998, has seated more than 350 million diners around the world. OpenTable is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and the OpenTable service is available throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and the UK. OpenTable also owns and operates toptable, the leading restaurant booking service in the UK. In addition to its consumer destination sites OpenTable.com and toptable.co.uk, OpenTable has more than 600 partners worldwide including American Express, Bing, Google, lastminute.com, Squaremeal, Time Out, Yahoo!, Yelp, and Zagat.
With nearly two million mobile sites built on its platform, DudaMobile is on a mission to make all websites mobile-friendly. The mobile website solution converts a user’s existing site into a version that is compatible with mobile phones. Founded in 2009, DudaMobile’s site builder platform is geared toward small- and medium-sized businesses that need a fast, simple and affordable way to create a mobile website.
Forward-Looking Statements This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that involve risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements include the quotations from management in this press release, as well as any statements regarding the Company’s strategic and operational plans. The Company’s actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements. Factors that may contribute to such differences include, among others, the impact of the current economic climate on the Company’s business; the Company’s ability to maintain an adequate rate of growth; the Company’s ability to effectively manage its growth; the Company’s ability to attract new restaurant customers; the Company’s ability to increase the number of visitors to its website and convert those visitors into diners; the Company’s ability to retain existing restaurant customers and diners or encourage repeat reservations; the Company’s ability to successfully enter new markets and manage its international expansion; the Company’s ability to successfully manage any acquisitions of businesses, solutions or technologies; interruptions in service and any related impact on the Company’s reputation; and costs associated with defending intellectual property infringement and other claims. More information about potential factors that could affect the Company’s business and financial results is contained in the Company’s annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 and the Company’s other filings with the SEC. The Company does not intend, and undertakes no duty, to update this information to reflect future events or circumstances.
[i]Since the introduction of its mobile solutions in November 2008.