Just a little over a week ago, online review site Yelp launched Yelp Platform, a new way for listed business owners to enable direct transactions on Yelp. The new feature is designed to help close the loop between delivering reviews and other related business information to consumers, and encouraging them to make decisions based on what they find on Yelp.
Yelp Platform began with food delivery and pickup – meaning, Yelp users could order delivery or pickup from selected restaurants across the US directly from Yelp listings. Now, Yelp has announced that it’s soon going to add another service to the list: restaurant reservations, via tech startup SeatMe.
In a blog post by Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, the company announced that it has acquired SeatMe, a Web- and app-based solution for online reservations at restaurants and nightlife locations. (The deal is reportedly worth around $12.7 million in cash and stock.) “By bringing SeatMe to Yelp, we can further enhance the consumer experience by extending the convenience of easy, online reservations directly through Yelp to thousands of currently unserved businesses,” wrote Stoppelman.
“This follows nicely on our recently announced Yelp Platform, which is currently launching with the ability to order food delivery or pick-up on Yelp business pages through our partners Eat24 and delivery.com. We believe SeatMe will add online reservation capabilities to a broader market while complementing our existing partnerships.”
Yelp actually already has a partnership with another restaurant reservations platform (and SeatMe competitor), OpenTable. But according to company spokesman Vince Sollitto, the SeatMe deal won’t mean the end of the Yelp-OpenTable collaboration; they’re meant to be complementary. In an interview with AllThingsD, he said: “we believe SeatMe targets a large, underserved market with a low-cost Web- and app-based solution, and that SeatMe complements our existing partnerships.”
More simply: SeatMe will possibly be integrated with Yelp-listed restaurants that don’t use OpenTable.
If you’re a business owner – particularly, if you’re in the restaurant and food and beverage industry – Yelp’s acquisition of SeatMe allows for new ways to reach potential consumers who are looking to book a table at your place. Yes, you’ll be able to do this soon even if you’re not an OpenTable member restaurant. Meanwhile, if your business is already on SeatMe, there won’t be any drastic change, and you’ll continue to be able to use their table management and online reservations service.