Mobile Matters


OpenTable Helps Restaurants Build Free Mobile Sites

by: | November 8, 2012

Mobile-ready websites are critical for businesses of all shapes and sizes, but arguably no category is more dependent on user-friendly mobile experiences than restaurants.

Mobile search for restaurants is more locally-driven and urgent than categories like travel and auto, according to a new survey conducted by local advertising network xAd and mobile call measurement provider Telemetrics. Close to 90 percent of consumers who search their mobile device for restaurants convert within the day, and 64 percent of smartphone users convert immediately or within an hour of their mobile query. The study adds that 66 percent of smartphone search users are looking for restaurant directions, 65 percent are seeking locations within walking or driving distance, and 51 percent are hunting for a local phone number.

“Calls are a key mobile restaurant activity, with more than half of restaurant searchers placing calls and 30 percent saying they contacted the restaurant or made a reservation by phone on their last restaurant search,” said Telemetrics president Bill Dinan. “Ensuring that consumers have easy access to restaurant phone numbers—whether individually operated or the local franchise—is key to not only securing the mobile consumer’s business in the last phase of their purchase path, but also for advertisers to be able to measure mobile traffic and monetize the leads generated.”

Having a mobile-optimized website is vital to offering consumers the information they crave, but according to market research firm comScore and dining services platform OpenTable, only about 10 percent of reservation-taking restaurants have sites that properly render on mobile browsers. That isn’t good for consumers and it isn’t good for OpenTable, which is increasingly dependent on mobile traffic: The site’s users booked 28 million reservations during the second quarter of 2012, and mobile devices generated 28 percent of those bookings. Four years since OpenTable first rolled out mobile reservation services, more than 30 million diners have booked reservations via wireless device, generating more than $1 billion in revenue (based on a check average of $42.50 per person).

So, OpenTable is taking matters into its own hands, collaborating with do-it-yourself mobile website solutions firm DudaMobile to enable its restaurant customers to build their own customizable, mobile-ready sites absolutely free. The DudaMobile platform allows small businesses to convert their existing sites into mobile-optimized formats, offering easy-to-use tools and dozens of site templates to simplify the process for non-technical users. DudaMobile-built sites render on any smartphone browser, automatically sync with changes made to the desktop site, and come complete with bells and whistles like maps, click-to-call capabilities, SMS integration, and analytics tracking. To take advantage of the free service, OpenTable restaurant customers in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. must claim their site via the OpenTable Restaurant Center before Feb. 1, 2013.

For restaurants that are already OpenTable partners, this is a phenomenal offer—if your establishment isn’t onboard with the OpenTable platform, a free mobile website may not be enough to change your opinion. But no matter what, the number of restaurants with mobile-ready websites is poised for dramatic growth—and if your restaurant isn’t among them, you may have more open tables than you’ll know what to do with.

Posted in: B2C, E-Commerce, Geolocation, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Development, Mobile Matters

About the Writer:

Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of the FierceMobileContent and FierceDeveloper e-newsletters as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and the website All Music Guide. Additional credits include efforts for publications including Rolling Stone, Wax Poetics and No Depression, along with liner notes for a number of album releases. He lives in Chicago.

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