Diners turn to OpenTable to book their next meal for good reasons. The search results reflect their preferences, surfacing the restaurants that diners are most likely to be interested in. But that’s far from the only reason diners love OpenTable. They also get access to plenty of user-friendly features that make everything about planning a meal out easier and more fun. And it’s not just diners who like these features—they also help restaurants offer the best hospitality possible. Here’s a look at the OpenTable features diners love most, plus how they help restaurants grow their business.
Everyone knows the frustration of trying to grab a reservation at a favorite restaurant only to find the spot is fully booked when you want to go. With availability alerts, the story doesn’t have to end with that disappointment.
Let’s say a diner wants an 8 pm table for two on a Saturday later this month at a specific restaurant, but it’s booked solid. They can easily set up an alert right in the app by tapping the blue “set alert” button. Here’s what it looks like:
Often, diners don’t need a reservation at a precise time, so this feature, only available in the app, allows them the flexibility to set a range. When a table becomes available within the desired range, they’ll get a notification right on their phone that prompts them to book with a couple of quick taps.
This feature not only benefits diners, but it can also help restaurants fill those last-minute cancellations so seats aren’t left empty.
True food enthusiasts know it can be easy to lose track of great restaurants. OpenTable’s “saved” feature gives people a way to bookmark all the spots they want to visit even if they aren’t ready to make a reservation at the moment.
A diner’s saved restaurants become a curated list of the places they most want to visit. It can be favorites they want to keep in mind or new places they want to try. This becomes a go-to resource for ideas when they are ready to book that table. Here’s how the saved list appears in the app for diners:
It’s a great way to stay on the radar for diners who are interested in trying a new restaurant and build brand loyalty with guests who want to return.
This feature acts like a news feed all about restaurants. Each diner’s notification center is personalized to them, which means most will actually want to scan the information shared here. It offers updates on their favorite restaurants as well reminders about upcoming reservations.
The notification center also provides information on happenings at restaurants, like a new menu or upcoming experiences. It also lets diners know when a restaurant has been recognized in a feature article or won an award.
In a nutshell, the notification center helps keep diners informed and engaged about what is happening with their favorite restaurants.
The direct messaging feature makes it easier than ever for restaurants and diners to communicate. Restaurants can send messages to confirm an upcoming reservation, talk through dietary requirements, arrange special occasion details, and answer any questions. It works and looks like many other messaging apps diners are already familiar with. Here’s an example:
Not only do diners love having their questions answered promptly via messaging, but the feature also helps cut down on no-shows by giving diners an easier way to cancel or modify their reservations.
Diners who are interested in unique culinary experiences hosted by their favorite restaurants like to use the experiences tab to see what’s available near them and get ideas about things to do.
Clicking on “experiences” will show them upcoming prix-fixe dinners, happy hours, live music happenings, tea times, brunches, and more. Here’s how it appears for diners:
This gives people a fun new way to explore options and enjoy your restaurant. It helps restaurants highlight everything they have to offer and get seen by more potential guests. Experiences can be set up so diners pay in advance, which brings in more revenue upfront and cuts down on no-shows.
The “invite guests” feature gives diners the ability to invite their dining companions to their reservation right from OpenTable. It’s very convenient for diners, eliminating the need to send their friends and family separate invitations on another platform. It also lets them see at a glance who plans to join them for their reservation, so they can modify their booking for the correct party size.
This feature also gives a restaurant much more information about who’s dining in addition to the person who made the reservation. This, in turn, allows the restaurant to offer even more personalized hospitality and build more brand loyalty.
Every time diners book tables through OpenTable, they can earn points. Over time, the points add up and can be redeemed for discounts on restaurants or hotels. People love loyalty programs, and racking up points can become a fun game. It’s one more feature diners love that keeps them engaged with OpenTable over the years. Check out more about OpenTable’s loyalty program.
These seven features are beloved by diners because they’re helpful and easy to use. They make the process of planning a meal more fun, and ultimately their visit to the restaurant is better. It’s a win-win for restaurants and diners alike. Though restaurants don’t use these features the same way diners do, restaurants reap the ultimate reward—loyal guests who keep coming back.