7 min read
7 min read
With restaurant-starved diners clamoring for tables, it’s an exciting time for the industry. But the positive buzz belies the fact that challenges persist. It’s been tough to hire enough staff to meet the surge in demand, and budgets have been stretched tissue-thin thanks to the pandemic.
When money is tight, marketing expenses are often slashed. Good news: OpenTable, with the world’s largest dining network, has your back when it comes to cost-effective marketing. OpenTable connects 1.6 billion diners with restaurants each year. Here’s everything you need to know about how OpenTable powers your marketing.
People who book with OpenTable are passionate about restaurants. It’s a very diverse group of diners, but the demographic has many qualities that set it apart. First of all, there are more diners in the 25 to 34 age group than in any other age group. A majority of OpenTable diners (60%) are women, and 52% percent are in a relationship. Countless date night and anniversary dinners have been booked through the platform. The OpenTable crowd also typically has been to college (64%), has a higher than average income, and they spend more money at restaurants—24% more than walk-in diners, on average. Best of all, they are diners who discover your restaurant on OpenTable who may not have booked with you otherwise.
With no-shows continuing to be a major pain point for restaurants, it’s reassuring to know that you can count on OpenTable diners. They no-show less often than those who make reservations other ways, such as via phone. And unlike other platforms, OpenTable publishes reviews from diners only after it’s been verified they actually dined with you. (That means no off-base reviews from people who didn’t want to wait in line or couldn’t get their preferred reservation dragging down your rating.) Users rely on our nearly 110 million reviews from verified guests to decide where to make a reservation.
Today someone looking to dine out might see 10 restaurants a minute scrolling through a Google search, their email inbox, or their Instagram feed. OpenTable understands this and maintains a dynamic presence in all these places simultaneously to help diners connect with you. Our team of marketing experts are solely focused on driving reservations, using ads, social media, email, and editorial content to connect you to more diners. Because information overload is overwhelming, diners in the OpenTable network often turn directly to us to answer the question, “Where should we eat?”
In the U.S., the average person spends more than two hours a day looking at social media, according to DigitalMarketing.org. That’s why you’ll find us on key social platforms, having authentic conversations about news and trends with potential restaurant guests and online influencers. We also drive the conversation on the OpenTable blog by regularly profiling innovative restaurants, highlighting seasonal dishes, and featuring restaurants like yours in “best of” guides.
A team of OpenTable public relations pros ensures coverage in top media outlets for things like the annual 100 Best Lists, which spotlight restaurants that excel in diners’ favorites categories including most romantic, best brunch, and best outdoor dining. This can lead to prime opportunities for restaurants to be featured in press releases and interviewed by top-notch websites, newspapers, and magazines.
Personalized OpenTable emails based on each diner’s location and behavior can help increase bookings and keep regulars coming back. OpenTable emails aren’t all business—we send fun articles and the kind of timely content that restaurant enthusiasts love to read. And we always keep them informed of their options for outdoor dining, delivery, and takeout, especially now as they’re rediscovering the joy of restaurants after a time away.
This network has been earned through 22 years of diners relying on us, and we’re still actively growing it. We continually invest in the OpenTable discovery engine as well as smart strategies like search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), and partnerships with TripAdvisor, Michelin, and Apple. It’s a commitment that ensures we’re absolutely everywhere that diners are—so you don’t have to be.
The search function on the platform is powerful. In 2019, roughly 805 million searches were made on OpenTable by people looking for restaurants. More than half (51%) of people don’t know exactly where they want to go to eat when they show up. OpenTable helps them figure it out.
Diners know they can trust us to help them find the perfect place to celebrate, splurge, and connect. Sophisticated search means people can easily find the restaurant that matches their wishlist, and restaurants can rest assured knowing they’ve got just what these diners want.
As with any decision, a myriad of factors come into play when someone is choosing a restaurant. In fact, OpenTable takes more than 120 variables into account when surfacing restaurants for diners, including location, cuisine type, and reviews. OpenTable makes it easy to sort by many of these factors.
Your profile is an important part of how people find you on OpenTable, too. The most complete profiles surface more in search. And with 70 million average page views on OpenTable every month, you definitely want to make it easy for those people looking for reservations to get to know you through your profile.
To maximize visibility in search, beef up a bare-bones profile with the information diners are looking for. This means keeping your description, menus, hours, specials, takeout and delivery options, and safety precautions up to date. And don’t forget to add photos. We’re talking crave-inducing food photos and warm, welcoming interior shots. Text is important, but a picture is still worth a thousand words. Get more tips for a robust profile.
We know not every reservation search starts on OpenTable, but we try to help as many diners as possible discover you wherever they’re searching online. That means we use paid search to grab people clicking around Google search results. Thanks to insights drawn from our network, we can predict what diners are searching for and when. From there, our marketing experts craft tailored campaigns in Google Ads (bid strategies) to advertise where and when people are looking. These efforts are active around the world—in 11 countries and six languages. You pay nothing additional for this investment, but you benefit from the substantial web traffic this brings to OpenTable, where people can find and book a table at your restaurant.
OpenTable also invests in retargeting undecided diners. After spending some time on OpenTable looking at several restaurant options, some diners get distracted and click away without making a reservation. We strategically place ads there to bring them back and book with you.
And if you want visitors to your area to find you, OpenTable can help. More than a third (36%) of reservations are by people traveling for work and play. As part of Booking Holdings, the world’s leading provider of online travel services, restaurants on OpenTable can benefit from partnership and cross-marketing opportunities with travel brands like Kayak and Priceline. OpenTable partners with more than 600 brands around the world, including heavy hitters like Google, The New York Times, Apple, and Facebook, to make sure people everywhere can easily find you and book a table when they’re browsing the internet.
But having a global presence doesn’t stop us from coming to your backyard. We connect with diners in person at food festivals and events to promote local partner restaurants. Together with local groups like DineLA and NYCGo, OpenTable supports restaurant weeks in 60 metro areas. (Last year these events added takeout and delivery to the restaurant week fun.)
Most restaurateurs got into the business to take care of people, not to do endless marketing. But the truth is, all businesses need good marketing to thrive. Letting OpenTable be your marketing engine is a powerful way to fuel your success while focusing on what you do best—serving up great food, fun, and hospitality.