OpenTable's focus on the international market includes reservations, but the company seems to be pushing restaurant discovery even harder.
— Kristen Hawley
OpenTable is now available in Amsterdam. The expansion is part of a plan to reach more diners around the world, touted heavily when Priceline acquired OpenTable 2014. OpenTable is launching in the Netherlands with 100 restaurants on its platform — though it offers details, including websites and contact information, for 300 non-OpenTable restaurants that are, “specially curated for travelers,” according to the press release. This is likely as much a marketing tactic — encouraging restaurants to join the OpenTable platform — as it is helpful to travelers looking for a restaurant. So, in effect, it seems that they’re launching in Amsterdam, but not necessarily targeting diners in Amsterdam.
In a statement, OpenTable CEO, Christa Quarles, said, “Bringing together our extensive experience in connecting diners and restaurants, and our position as part of The Priceline Group, we are uniquely placed to help the global traveler become a global diner.” While the majority of OpenTable’s 42,000 restaurants are in the U.S., it also has bookable restaurants in more than 20 countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, and the U.K. and probably relies heavily on brand recognition and traveling OpenTable users for more visibility in foreign markets.
Many of the 300 included restaurants that aren’t (yet?) accepting OpenTable reservations are currently customers of one of two local online reservations systems based in the Netherlands. It’s an interesting strategy — one that OpenTable uses in the U.S., too — to provide non-customer options for people searching for a restaurant on the OpenTable platform. This positions the company as a way to discover restaurants, not just book them. With the power of Priceline behind its global expansion, OpenTable is also able to offer non-U.S. restaurants an audience of travelers already accustomed to using OpenTable to find a restaurant and make a reservation. Discovery — especially among travelers — is a hot topic lately as large companies work to integrate both reservations and delivery services into their platforms.