Yelp has debuted a new tool for restaurants, bars, and other nightlife businesses which would allow them to accept online reservations for free. It’s a free version of Yelp’s SeatMe product, which has been on the market for some time already and sits in direct competition with the likes of OpenTable. Right now, the free version of SeatMe is only available in the US, the UK, and Ireland, but Yelp is looking to expand into more regions soon. To register, businesses will need to make a Yelp Business Account; users who make reservations will receive a notification six hours before the reservation time, and an SMS about an hour before. Yelp is also making a widget to encourage more reservations on websites. Whether it can compete with already entrenched reservation services remains to be seen, but it would be a boon to Yelp to have user data on who is reserving where, and when, across the board.
Thanks to Facebook’s integration with OpenTable, which has access to about 20,000 U.S. dining establishments, you’ll soon be able to make reservations on the go through Facebook later this week. The service will be available on Facebook’s mobile site and newly updated apps for iOS and Android. Because the service is so mobile-based, there are a few device-specific advantages, like the ability to use Facebook’s “Nearby Places” function to find restaurants around you. Facebook claims that its integration is much more seamless than OpenTable’s other partners, Yelp and Google Maps, and wants to bake in deep, cross-platform compatibility. We’ll find out just how successful they are later this week.
Yelp – the restaurant rating service that has come under fire of late for hounding store-owners to pay for good reviews – acquired SeatMe to add to its review service. SeatMe is an OpenTable-like service that allows customers to make restaurant reservations online; the news comes after Yelp also announced its entrance into the food delivery industry. Yelp hopes that this deal will enhance the customer experience further, allowing Yelp to be a one-stop shop for the restaurant business.
Online restaurant reservation site OpenTable went public today. And at the prices it is trading at, it’s a startling sign of hope in the down economy (TechCrunch reported it surging to $30 a share as of 11am PST).
As the San Jose Mercury news reports, OpenTable and SolarWinds‘ debuts on Wall Street marks the end of a “15 month drought” for Silicon Valley start up companies. Venture capitalists are celebrating, and it’s a triumph no doubt for OpenTable they weathered the first dot-com bubble and now appear to be doing quite well in this recession. However, what is interesting about OpenTable is the way they are making their dough, so to speak.Â Continue reading “OpenTable – business model to go?”