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OpenTable bets on Kindle Fire for dining reservations

Online reservation site OpenTable is continuing to build its mobile strategy with a Kindle Fire application.

According to OpenTable, mobile accounted for 16 percent of reservations in the fourth quarter of 2011, showing the high demand from users to book plans via their handsets. OpenTable’s mobile offerings also include a mobile site and apps for iPhone, Android, Palm, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7 and iPad devices.

“We are always looking at how we can build upon and enhance the consumer experience, and continuing to bolster our portfolio of mobile products for diners is a great example of this,” said Scott Jampol, senior director of consumer marketing at OpenTable, San Francisco.

“In the fourth quarter, we launched our second generation mobile Web site, introduced a new app for the Android Honeycomb tablet and rolled out upgrades for our iPhone and iPad apps,” he said.

Mobile dining
The OpenTable Kindle app uses the device’s location to find nearby restaurants. The app plots restaurants on a map with a user’s coordinates to show the closest locations.

In order to use the app, users must create an OpenTable log-in account.

The app syncs in real-time to let users browse by restaurant and view reservation times with directions and restaurant information.

Additionally, users can enter keywords such as date, time and party size to help narrow their results.

Search results can also be tailored by price and cuisine.

Consumers can also save their favorite restaurants, share content via email and earn dining points towards their Kindle Fire accounts.

The Kindle Fire was originally positioned as a device for deep media consumption – a hybrid between a tablet and ereader.

However, with a lower price than Apple’s iPad and strong initial sales, the Kindle Fire is now being seen for more than just reading.

Financial institutions, fast food companies and publishers are some of the first companies to roll out Kindle Fire apps.

For example, Papa John’s recently launched a Kindle Fire app to boost mobile orders (see story).

The Kindle Fire is positioned vertically, which is beneficial for a company such as OpenTable that is looking to drive bookings.

OpenTable first launched its mobile services in 2008 and claims that its apps have served more than 20 million diners and generated $800 million in revenue.

OpenTable also recently rolled out a new mobile site with HTML5 to more closely resemble an app (see story).

“Mobile is an increasingly important part of our business and it is one of the areas we will continue to invest in,” Mr. Jampol said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York