Yelp Integrates OpenTable

In a way I’m surprised this didn’t happen earlier. But Yelp announced that it has integrated OpenTable reservations:

Beginning tonight, logged in Yelp users will be able to easily make a reservation without having to leave the site or create an OpenTable account. Yelp users who already have an OpenTable account will automatically receive credit to their OpenTable account, for their reservation — no need to log into both sites.

It’s not live so you can’t find it on the site yet. But here’s a screengrab from the Yelp blog post:

Yelp will presumably get an affiliate payment for every reservation it delivers.

Yelp competitor Urbanspoon recently introduced its own challenger to OpenTable called “Rez.”

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8 Responses to “Yelp Integrates OpenTable”

  1. Paul Says:

    Good news … what does this mean for other companies that may wish to integrate their online booking solutions into yelp? I would imagine the infrastructure they have built for opentable would be easily adaptable to other providers and different types of businesses (if they have some sort of exclusive arrangement for restaurants).

    I would love to be able to integrate online booking into the yelp profiles for my clients as well, my software does not target restaurants but my client base is well represented in yelp both in the USA and the UK.

    I hope they open up this capability to other partners.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    This could well lay the foundation for other online booking at yelp. Business model would be the issue however.

  3. Paul Says:

    Thanks greg, what aspects of the business model do you consider an issue? I would imagine any partners would be happy to enter into a revenue sharing agreement to get the type of exposure that yelp can offer.

    Assuming the actual integration with other partners is not too hard using the existing platform it just generates lots of other transactional revenue streams for yelp and adds value for their customers. Its also great trackable data as you know an actual appointment was booked from yelp that can be used to demonstrate value.

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    Well . . .are you only going to give the functionality to some, say, hair salons? For example: those that are paying advertisers or who pay on a per lead basis for the bookings?

    If so you create an inconsistent consumer experience. You could do that of course.

    But if you give the functionality to all salons to create a consistent consumer experience then you’ve got a problem in terms of the biz model: how to you get money?

    Not all restaurants use OpenTable so the first example might be the one that would work. But OpenTable pays the affiliate; the consumer doesn’t pay and I don’t believe that there are any fees on a per reservation basis for the restaurant either.

    That’s what I’m saying . . .

  5. Paul Says:

    hi greg …. I believe opentable charge the restaurant $1 per booking in addition to a monthly charge and I assume Yelp is taking a percentage of this booking fee and potentially other fees.

    opentable could also be paying yelp to appear on their site as you stated.

  6. Greg Sterling Says:

    OK. But OpenTable now is embedded in many restaurants. Booking would have to be sold as an ad product by Yelp to local businesses, which it could do.

    But many businesses wouldn’t bite I suspect. Alternatively Yelp could bundle it where appropriate in ad packages.

  7. Ivan Says:

    Open Table charges $1 PER PERSON for reservations from 3rd party sites (and their own). Their normal pay out to affiliates is $0.40 cents per reservation. Factor in the average party size of 3.8 (on our site at least) and Open Table is paying about 10% of the fees to Yelp…given Yelp didn’t get a privileged deal. While it seems cool to the user, the restaurants is now being forced to pay for traffic from Yelp, through reservations, that they formerly received for free (because people used the phone). This should have mixed benefits for yelp in that formerly customers had to navigate to the restaurants website and that probably showed up as increased traffic from Yelps site. However, no Yelp gets a slice of every reservation made at Open Table customers from their site. The sad part is that Open Table doesn’t show restaurants how many reservations Yelp books.

    Reservation Genie offers a booking system that allows the restaurant to receive reservations from any website for only $49 per month. But it doesn’t appear we can set up our clients who also use Open Table as Yelp is adding that code without their permission. I’m surprised more restaurants haven’t resisted this relationship…as their invoices are going up for traffic they used to receive for free.

  8. Patricia Says:

    Wow, I have not worked with Yelp, but I think this is a welcome change. I mean it might sound bothersome to some people, but to others this may be a great way to save time and make sure they get what the want.

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