Google, and more specifically Google Maps, is evolving into an increasingly eater-friendly platform. The upgraded “Explore” tab automatically suggests highly-rated restaurants in the user’s immediate area (dubbed “The Foodie List”), even if the user isn’t necessarily searching for a place to eat.
Click on a restaurant, and it’ll estimate how likely you are to enjoy the food through a new “see your match” feature, based on your previous restaurant ratings and reviews on Google.
Scroll further down, and the profile might include a new, integrated reservations widget. The Google integration is a feature that several reservations platforms are beginning to offer to their clients, where, similar to Facebook and Instagram integrations, diners don’t have to leave Google to book a table for dinner.
“Google is a massive driver of traffic, not just to restaurants but to all businesses,” Joel Montaniel, CEO of SevenRooms, told Skift Table. “It’s a really important channel.” Among SevenRooms clients that have started using the integration, Montaniel said that 10 to 30 percent of a restaurant’s reservations are arriving through Google.
Montaniel declined to share data around how this compares to other, similar integrations like Instagram’s booking widget, saying that it was still early days for those features. However, he noted that they are seeing that once a customer books through Instagram once, they are likely to do it again.
Traditionally, Instagram and Facebook aren’t thought of as channels where action happens — whether booking a reservation or buying a piece of clothing — whereas with Google, there’s less of a learning curve to go from searching for and rating a restaurant to booking a reservation, Montaniel explained. Plus, it helps that the platform already offers a ton of other booking capabilities outside of restaurants.
Resy launched an integrated reservation capability on Google last week, and is currently piloting the feature with 100 partners. OpenTable has also been piloting a Google integration since March 2018. Earlier this year, OpenTable released statistics showing that the reservations coming through the company’s wide variety of platform integrations (it claims to have nearly 600) account for about 10 percent of diners seated overall.
“When I’m in a city or in a place that I’m not familiar with, I’m opening Google Maps. I’m not opening anything else, and I think that I’m not unique in that way,” Resy CEO Ben Leventhal said at Skift Restaurants Forum in September. “I think that’s the point: the funnel has changed. You used to have a service like OpenTable at the top of the funnel, and it turns out that Google’s at the top of the funnel now. I think that’s where restaurants have to start considering, what does that marketing look like?”
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