Facebook recently announced a partnership with OpenTable to bring online reservations to the social network. An update will bring the booking service to Facebook’s mobile app and mobile website in mid-August, with desktop functionality coming at a later date.
This news has some interesting implications for restaurant owners. Admittedly, OpenTable is no stranger to the local search space. The booking service has been partnered with Yelp and Google Maps for some time now, and has been a popular local search tool in its own right.
However, Facebook offers an entirely different level of integration into the average consumer’s online experience. Unlike with Yelp and Google Maps, which require users to access an external browser to view OpenTable’s mobile site, Facebook’s integration with OpenTable will be entirely within the social network’s app. This provides Facebook with the all-important advantage: convenience. To date, it’s the only platform that allows users to chat with friends, plan a night out, and schedule their dinners all through the same platform.
For thousands of restaurant owners, the all-too-difficult bridge between capturing users with community outreach and driving real sales just got a little easier to cross. By engaging consumers at multiple points along the path to purchase on a single platform, businesses now have an even greater opportunity to convert impressions to sales. If you’re a local restaurant owner and you haven’t already been reaching potential consumers with Facebook, now would be a great time to get started.