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Around the time that online review site Yelp launched the Yelp Platform last year, it also snapped up restaurant reservations service SeatMe. At the time, Yelp already had a partnership with OpenTable, a similar service, but executives pointed out that “SeatMe will add online reservation capabilities to a broader market while complementing our existing partnerships.”

This month Yelp is finally showing off these new capabilities. It has launched Yelp Reservations, a new free tool for restaurant owners to handle online reservations and front-of-house management.

The tool is meant specifically for business owners – in the Restaurant and Nightlife categories – who aren’t yet big or busy enough to need the robust functionality of OpenTable or Yelp’s SeatMe. Yelp Reservations is, in a way, a free version of the SeatMe product, the normal version of which, integrated to a restaurant’s website, costs $99 a month.

Check out a screenshot of the new service below:

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(Also read: “YELP HELP: The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Yelp Business Page / Listing”)

How does it work? Well, first of all, business owners have to have a claimed Yelp business profile to enable reservations. The tool then lets customers book directly via the business’ Yelp page on mobile or desktop.

Once an online booking is confirmed, the system will send a reminder to the customer six hours before reservation time, plus an SMS message five hours later (or one hour before the booked time). There are also options for customers to cancel or change their reservations by text message.

Business owners, meanwhile, have the option of adding a Yelp Reservations widget to their own websites to encourage more bookings. They can also control and manage reservations through their Yelp Business Owners account.

Yelp Reservations is now available for businesses in the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland, with more areas expected to be covered as Yelp continues its rollout of the new tool.

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.

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