Q & A – Online Reservations and Email Collection


I’m in Canada but I imagine many of the companies are offered here, too. Yelp reservations and Open Table are for sure. What are some of your opinions and experiences with online reservation systems? We want to build an email database and I like the sounds of Open Table but not the costs associated with it.

You’re right, reservation systems have come a very, very long way and most services can do the same thing at this point:

-allow offline/online reservations
-text a wait list
-build a guest portfolio/list

So it’s going to boil down to what you want your system to do for you:
Do you really NEED the exposure of the users of the platform?
Or do you think you can drive your own traffic to a site for making reservations?
Ultimately, with systems like OpenTable, that noticeably higher fee you’re paying is for exposure to their list of diners and promotional engine.

Lastly, you mentioned using this system to build a guest email database, while this does work, generally the most efficient way to then email those guests is from WITHIN the system’s marketing functions. Otherwise, you’re having to export the list from one application into a mail service and most of the time ask for a double opt-in in to the email list to meet FCC regulations. I know, eyeroll, it can be a headache.

I think I mean to suggest that gathering guest emails can happen in lots of different ways, but using your reservation system as your main source of gathering and actually emailing your guests may not be the most streamlined option. Mailchimp, Zenreach (which also offers guest wifi) and constant contact are some easy pieces of software to manage email marketing.

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