Social networking giant Facebook is determined to make its mobile pages more feature-rich and functional. Early this year, the company rolled out Yelp-like mobile pages designed to emphasize interactions, online ratings, and check-ins.
This week, Facebook is announcing a new update that should be great news to anyone who’s managing an OpenTable restaurant. Why? Because now, diners will be able to make OpenTable reservations directly via your mobile Facebook page – a feature that will potentially extend your reach and connect you to mobile-device-owning Facebook users. The update is available on iOS, Android, and Facebook’s mobile site.
(Check out: “5 Ways OpenTable Can Help Your Restaurant”)
In a Facebook for Business blog post, the company said that it’s integrating OpenTable’s restaurant reservation service into Facebook mobile pages for more than 20,000 OpenTable restaurant customers across North America. “Using their mobile devices, people will be able to book tables via Facebook Pages for restaurants. The update represents a new way of discovering and booking great dining experiences, all within the Facebook mobile app. There’s no need to visit a separate mobile site or open a separate app.”
Diners don’t even have to visit OpenTable’s site, use the OpenTable app, or have an OpenTable account to make a reservation. For OpenTable member restaurants, the new update provides an extra channel for connecting and engaging with customers who are using Facebook on their mobile devices to find local business information.
Interestingly enough, Facebook’s OpenTable integration was led by Justin Moore, a former engineer from another hugely popular location-based mobile app: Foursquare. According to Business Insider, Moore is the same guy responsible for Foursquare’s Explore feature.
In an analysis, Marketing Land’s Greg Sterling wrote: “Beyond the additional visibility and distribution for OpenTable and utility for Facebook, the deal comes on the heels of Yelp’s acquisition of OpenTable booking competitor SeatMe, which may have partly motivated it. OpenTable has/had a similar profile-page booking arrangement with Yelp.”
OpenTable’s partnership with Facebook also comes on the heels of its acquisition last week of Rezbook, a reservation management system previously owned and originally developed by once-seen-as-rival Urbanspoon. Recently it’s been making moves which the restaurant reservations service and reviews aggregator hopes will give it a leg up its competition, such as SaveTable, Matradee.com, Livebookings and Restalo.