Facebook Joins Yelp in Offering Restaurant Reservations

facebook reservationsIf you have the Facebook app on your smartphone, you may have noticed another new feature: restaurant reservations. That’s right, Facebook has followed in the recent footsteps of popular review website Yelp and is now offering the ability to book reservations at local restaurant in the Pages section of its mobile site and apps for both iOS and Android. Through integration with OpenTable, Facebook offers a service where you don’t even have to leave the app to book your table. Along with the addition of a TV listings section, this is an interesting development in Facebook’s quest to become more “actionable,” as a spokesperson stated.

Integration with OpenTable

To offer this service, Facebook has integrated OpenTable, which brings 20,000 restaurants in North America to Facebook’s reservations feature. However, to make a reservation, you do not need to register with OpenTable or even leave Facebook. The entire process takes place on the Facebook app, which is an advantage over Yelp where you have to open a new browser window. For the restaurants that are listed, OpenTable charges $1 per customer who makes a reservation. However, those customers will spend about $43 on average, making this very profitable for those businesses.

Competition With Yelp

This feature puts Facebook in direct competition with Yelp, as they also use OpenTable for their restaurant reservation feature. Facebook has made it clear that they want their mobile Pages to be much more useful and functional for users, and they redesigned Pages back in April to have an appearance even closer to that of Yelp. This is a powerful strategy; because there are so many users already on Facebook, it is even more likely that they will take advantage of the restaurant reservation app there rather than visiting Yelp or other sites such as Foursquare and Google.

Another benefit of this feature that will likely draw in more users is its ease of use. Below the restaurant’s hours of operation, there will be an alert stating when reservations are available. The Facebook app will be pre-filled with your name and contact information, and all the user needs to do is pres “Reserve.” If the restaurant reservation feature is successful, it is likely that advertisers will become more invested in publicizing themselves on Facebook through ads and promoted posts.

TV Listings Also Arrive

Along with restaurant reservations, Facebook has also updated Pages to include TV listings. This is yet another step along Facebook’s goal to become more functional for users, particularly when it comes to location based consumerism and entertainment. As Facebook adds more of these “actionable” features, it will become even more imperative for small businesses to maintain their Facebook presence and promotions.

How is your small business keeping up with new Facebook features?

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Elizabeth K

Elizabeth Kent is a recent graduate with an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Brandeis University. She earned her B.A. from Smith College with a major in the Study of Women and Gender and a minor in Jewish Studies. Elizabeth recently relocated from the Boston area back to Western Massachusetts, where she spends her free time volunteering with a local non-profit organization. Elizabeth has worked as a writing tutor, archival intern, research assistant, and retail associate. Her interests include studying pop culture, kittens, and making meals with as little cooking as possible.

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