I am a big fan of OpenTable. And I am a big fan of Foursquare.
Whenever I go out to dinner, I make a reservation on OpenTable (if the restaurant is on it). Whenever I go anywhere, I check in on Foursquare.
When I use OpenTable, I get either 100 or 1,000 points (depending on the restaurant). When I use Foursquare, I get between 1-5 points (or maybe even more depending on Foursquare).
Before you go to dinner, you make a reservation on OpenTable. When you get to the restaurant, you check-in on Foursquare completing the cycle. OpenTable is the proactive action, and Foursquare is the reactive action. They are two halves to a whole.
So it only makes sense to bring the two together.
Imagine this: you make a reservation on OpenTable for your favorite restaurant worth 100 points. When you get to the restaurant, you tell the host or hostess that you are there to redeem your 100 points. But it doesn’t stop there. You then check-in on Foursquare, sharing with your network of friends. You get some bonus points. Then you share on Facebook, Twitter or both and you get even more points. But why does this matter?
OpenTable builds the app.
OpenTable would need to be the one to create the app to connect with Foursquare. But why would they bother when they already rule the online reservation space? And they already have millions of people using their services. For every hundred points on OpenTable, you earn $1 in dining credit. After you get 2,000 points, they will send a $20 gift certificate. The only way to get points is to make a reservation, and it is a very private, intimate experience. The only people who know about the reservation are the customer, merchant and OpenTable.
But if you could get more points by checking in on Foursquare, tweeting out the check-in and posting on Facebook, your friends would see the benefits of OpenTable. OpenTable makes it easier to make a reservation without calling many restaurants. And by checking in, tweeting or posting, you are endorsing OpenTable’s service. The lazy tweets or posts would give credit to OpenTable while also spreading the world about the service. The tweets and posts could even lead to a landing page that encourages visitors to immediately sign up for an OpenTable account, make your first reservation and download the mobile app.
Currently, when someone makes a reservation, OpenTable gets a lot of data about what a person’s dining habits are: what type of food someone likes, what restaurants they like more than others, what areas of a city a person frequents the most etc. But there may be more than one OpenTable user present when the reservation is made, but the data is only recorded for the person who made the reservation. Connecting Foursquare and being able to show how many OpenTable members are at a dinner can help them gather data and even make it more accurate.
OpenTable will also figure out the habits of its members by seeing where they are checking in on Foursquare when they don’t have OpenTable reservations. OpenTable can use this data to sign on new restaurants that are popular to its members.
Customers can get extra points.
Why would customers be interested in this app? Well they benefit by getting more points. Instead of simply getting 100 points for a reservation, they can now get points much faster. And they become advocates for the restaurant which will not go unnoticed.
Merchants will gain brand advocates.
Why would the restaurants be interested in this app? Instead of having the private interaction with their customers by using OpenTable, they will now have customers who are broadcasting to their social networks that they have gone to a particular restaurant. The amount of referrals will drastically increase.
So OpenTable, what do you think?
P.S. Foursquare could benefit from this too. People complain about their points not meaning anything, right? And they will not have more access to OpenTable’s millions of customers! Seems like it could work for both parties…