SevenRooms, a guest experience and retention platform for the hospitality industry, released its latest consumer report, “2023 Dining Discovery & Booking Report,” highlighting how guests discover new restaurants and book reservations. One thing is clear – diners are utilizing many channels for discovery - from word of mouth to a variety of online channels. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of diners hear about or discover new restaurants from friends, family and co-workers, followed by 33% using Google, 29% searching social media for restaurant profiles and 22% discovering through social media influencers or trusted sources. Only a small percentage use third-party platforms such as OpenTable (9%) and Resy (3%) to discover new restaurants.
“Coming out of the pandemic, operators are navigating an entirely new landscape which includes how diners are discovering and booking reservations,” said Joel Montaniel, CEO & Co-Founder of SevenRooms. “In this new world three things are clear: being everywhere diners are online is table stakes, diners prefer to book directly as opposed to using a third-party app, and while third-party apps are still important, Google is quickly becoming one of the preferred destinations for diners when they don't go direct to the restaurant.”
Defining today’s restaurant guest
In the United States, today’s guests expect more than just a meal, and creating opportunities to build loyalty will set restaurants apart. Each experience can turn a one-time diner into a loyal guest – but it must include personalized touches from start to finish. It is critical for operators to own their data to create a relationship with each guest based on preferences, past visits and upcoming special occasions noted when booking direct. By building this relationship, operators are able to be more proactive with their guests, personalize dining experiences and use the data they collect to curate experiences that will ultimately drive more revenue.
The beauty of a direct booking platform is the ability to capture that data; for example, asking the guest when they are booking if they are celebrating anything special, or noting dietary preferences. Guests are also willing to make that extra step to make sure they have an excellent experience - nearly half (45%) of diners will call the restaurant directly to book a reservation, and 35% will book through the restaurant's website. Twenty-nine percent of diners also say that they receive better experiences at the restaurant when they book direct, and more than 1 in 4 (27%) feel restaurants prioritize their reservation when doing so.
Similar to how today’s diners are catching on to the experiential benefits of booking direct, they are also realizing that third-party platforms are not actually in the best interest of the restaurant. Sixty-one percent believe that making reservations directly with the restaurant, rather than with a third-party reservation platform, is better for the restaurant. Additionally:
- 29% of respondents want to do all they can to directly support restaurants
- 17% of respondents noted that third-party reservation platforms charge too much in fees to the restaurant, and guests would rather not have the restaurant incur that cost
“As the expectation for incredible experiences grows, third-party reservation platforms are losing market share as diners prefer to book directly with restaurants to ensure they get the best experience,” said Montaniel. “SevenRooms has always been dedicated and focused on empowering operators to deliver the most personalized guest experiences. Our omnichannel approach, enabling restaurants to meet guests wherever they are, whether through global discovery and booking channels or a restaurant's own website, helps operators serve diners in this new world while helping them operate more sustainable and profitable businesses.
To learn more about SevenRooms, please visit www.sevenrooms.com.