Facebook and food – my two guilty pleasures. So what better combination than the two put together. And that’s exactly what Facebook and OpenTable are doing.
Starting this week, mobile users in the US (including android, iOS and m-sites) will have the ability to book a table at their favorite restaurant via their Facebook app. All users need to do is visit a restaurant’s page on the social network from their mobile device and they will be able to make a direct reservation on OpenTable.
Alternatively, tables can also be booked using the Facebook mobile ‘nearby’ facility to search for a restaurant. Once a preferred restaurant has been selected, users can go to the restaurant’s page on Facebook and make a direct OpenTable reservation. As soon as the reservation has been made, OpenTable will send the user an email to confirm the booking. Currently, all bookings made via Facebook default for two people.
According to the social network, reservations will not generate a ‘news feed’ post and users cannot share their booking with ‘friends’.
Although the service is only enabled for pages of restaurants that do not require a credit card to hold a reservation, Facebook notes that more than 20,000 OpenTable restaurant customers across North America will be able to use the new integrated feature.
“The update represents a new way for people to discover and book great dining experiences, all within the Facebook mobile app. With more than 800 million people accessing Facebook via a mobile device every month, users are engaging with pages on mobile more than ever before. To improve the mobile pages experience for brands and customers alike, we are continuing to work with with key partners to help people discover and engage with businesses,” says a spokesperson for Facebook.
One of the key differentiators of the new functionality, according to Facebook’s spokesperson, is that it is native to the app. With other apps, such as Yelp or Google Maps, clicking to make a restaurant reservation will result in a separate OpenTable mobile site opening up.
“With Facebook mobile integration, everything on our end is within the app – from discovery to booking. There are no mobile sites and no prompts to open or download an app,” the spokesperson adds.
Listings on TV and Movie Pages
And booking restaurants isn’t the only thing that Facebook is making easier. Finding shows and movies on TV is getting easier too. For people that use iOS, Facebook will now display TV listing information on US primetime TV and movie pages.
Listings will be based on users’ current time zones and will include the channel name, the time that the show airs and a description of the show or movie playing.
“Millions of people are visiting TV and movie pages on Facebook every day, especially on mobile. Providing listings information on Facebook offers timely and relevant information about the media content people care about most,” notes the Facebook spokesperson.
For businesses benefitting from these updates to mobile pages, both the OpenTable and TV listing features will update automatically. There is no additional sign-up or registration required.