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OpenTable’s redesigned iPhone app strikes balance between dining and discovery

Restaurant reservation service OpenTable is ramping up mobile bookings by redesigning its iPhone application, enabling users to enjoy faster visual browsing of eateries based on elements such as proximity, availability and personal favorites.

OpenTable’s app revamp includes a new Discover tab, which allows consumers to stumble upon new restaurants with a single tap, a feature that will likely help the service maximize its efforts for new customer acquisition. As individuals’ propensity for on-the-go booking increases, reservation platforms have a lucrative opportunity to fuel last-minute sales by provide valuable, personalized recommendations.

“OpenTable adding the new Discover tab to its app allows consumers with an iPhone to easily find the hottest and best-rated restaurants in town,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis. “OpenTable has been working with restaurants across the globe for over a decade.

“It is keeping up with the digital speed of mobile and paying attention to what its clients need, which in turn with consistency will continue to convince more consumers to use its app and make reservations.”

Impromptu discoveries
OpenTable’s iPhone app users can now begin using the company’s Discover tab to explore local eateries, ranging from popular restaurants to trendy cuisine locations, based on a slew of filters.

The reservation platform is aiming to cement its status as a mobile dining concierge by continuously updating its app and site features to appeal to on-the-go consumers visiting a new city or local diners planning a night out in their neighborhood.

The Discover tab includes content designed to help users engage in faster visual browsing of categories. Consumers can filter restaurant recommendations by proximity, popularity, availability and personal favorites.

Several of the featured categories include New & Hot, referring to recently opened establishments with high popularity scores and Near Me Now, which presents restaurant options with immediate availability.

Special Features suggests eateries that are ideal for every occasion – such as a romantic date or night out with the kids – while Editorial Picks displays locations selected by local OpenTable insiders and various industry experts.

The Discover tab is currently being rolled out to iPhone users in the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia. Android support for the feature is expected to launch in the near future.

On-the-go recommendations
While OpenTable will still allow users to manually search for nearby restaurants, implementing an in-app tool for the sole purpose of filtering available choices by category is a smart, commerce-minded move by the brand.

Consumers have been gravitating toward mobile concierge platforms – for a plethora of industries – with increased fervor lately, underscoring their desire to receive personalized suggestions for dining locations and activities via their smartphones.

Investing heavily in frequent app updates is also an optimal strategy for OpenTable, which sees much of its traffic stem from personal devices.

Last spring, the service continued its goal of providing streamlined dining experiences by undergoing a rebranding, which included a new logo, tagline and Web site that was also optimized for mobile (see story).

Additionally, its quick adoption of mobile payment solutions has helped capture a larger portion of consumers’ wallets.

An OpenTable executive at eTail West 2016 revealed that the reservation service sees significant Apple Pay activations occur on a daily basis, likely due to the proliferation of iPhone users in the market (see story).

“Certainly all booking apps and concierge platforms should be paying attention to this new discovery hub created by OpenTable to see the value and lift as it continues to market the addition,” Ms. Troutman said. “Discovery hubs and personalized reservations are one of many ‘on-demand’ items that are going to be expected as millennials gain traction from 20-somethings to a more mature age.

“Millennials grew up with digital and are starting to (and will continue to) demand faster, better results from all brands.”