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OpenTable Booking Insights Promises To Make Reservations More Manageable For Restaurants

“The business intelligence suite offers at-a-glance dashboards showing both past performance and trend analysis which helps restaurants manage their operations, adjust their staffing schedules, and tailor their marketing efforts - all in real time," says Prasad Gune, OpenTable SVP of Product.

A week after OpenTable revamped its app to better accommodate last-minute diners, the reservation platform is unveiling its business intelligence suite to provide its restaurant members with insights designed to make it easier to manage the complex science of seating.

The new software tools are part of OpenTable’s existing restaurant services program, GuestCenter. Both the consumer-facing app update and this latest addition aimed at the 45,000 restaurants that accept bookings from OpenTable reflect the new demands and competition in the booking space.

Despite being the largest restaurant reservation booking platform with over 25 million monthly users, the Booking Holdings (formerly known as Priceline Group) owned OpenTable has been defending the turf it’s built up during its 20 years in business from platforms such as Yelp Reservations, Reserve, Resy, and even more niche offerings like the pre-pay app Tock.

In addition, pieces like Grub Street’s recent report show how eaters often take advantage of online booking with last minute cancellations and other sudden changes that create chaos for seating systems, suggesting that the need to balance customer convenience on multiple levels requires more assistance from platforms like OpenTable. In a sense, reservation platforms are being asked to solve a problem they helped create in terms of seating people with greater flexibility.

Specifically, the business intelligence suite promises restaurants the tools and insights they need to seat more guests, better understand their diners’ booking habits and preferences, and personalize hospitality to help turn first-time diners into regulars.

The OpenTable app’s new home screen features two tabs, Book and Discover.

Meanwhile, as Connected Intelligence and the Knowledge Graph power voice-activated assistants to help consumers choose “one preferred answer” to questions and actions like finding and booking a table at a restaurant — OpenTable already has an “Alexa skill” to make reservations via spoken word — the ability to develop deeper insights is crucial to both brick-and-mortar establishments as well as platform companies.

“Our goal is to give restaurants the insights they need to make well-informed decisions affecting their business,” Prasad Gune, OpenTable SVP of Product. “The business intelligence suite offers at-a-glance dashboards showing both past performance and trend analysis which helps restaurants manage their operations, adjust their staffing schedules, and tailor their marketing efforts – all in real time.”

The features being rolled out within the business intelligence suite include:

  • Shift Occupancy Analysis: Analyzes monthly and yearly historical occupancy to help identify occupancy trends and forecast demand.
  • Turn Time Optimization: Uncovers opportunities to optimize turn times to maximize busy shifts and seat more guests
  • Booking Insights: Analyzes reservation data to provide insight into where diners are coming from.
  • Referral Insights: Tracks referrals, concierge relationships and reservations, giving restaurants insight on who is referring the business and the number of guests they are sending to the restaurant.
  • Restaurant Owner app: Presents quick analytics into how the business is performing on a monthly and shift basis, giving restaurateurs the knowledge they need to make informed and strategic decisions.
  • Monthly Business Reports: Shares actionable insights for busy owners and GMs, ensuring stakeholders stay informed with top-line reporting.

“The data and actionable insights that OpenTable makes available to us via GuestCenter gives us more control and flexibility to optimize and increase revenue, while also helping to ensure a positive experience for our guests,” says Hetal Shah, Owner  of San Francisco’s August (1) Five. “Based on the data, we can adjust turn times for each shift to take more reservations, add more specific table configurations to ensure that demand meets supply, and improve our reservation flow overall. By having access to the deep level of analytics reporting in GuestCenter, we’re really able to evaluate every shift and determine where there are opportunities to grow revenue and provide better hospitality.”

Additional analytics will be rolled out in the coming months, OpenTable says, including a “first time guest and visit frequency report,” as well as reviews analysis all of which are meant to appeal to restaurants’ primary desire to increase customer loyalty amid widening choices from on-demand delivery and meal kits that threaten to cut into eateries’ always thin margins.