Breaking up with your third party reservation sites
Why you should invest in having your own reservation site
Valentine’s day is a day to celebrate the love and joy towards your significant other, a day for you to show appreciation for them being kind and caring, but what if your significant other is not your true love?
As this big day is just around the corner, it's best to assess whether you should stay in the relationship or wave goodbye. We aren't referring to human companionship here, but instead your love-hate relationship with third-party reservation sites.
If you’re not familiar with third-party reservation sites, these are websites that act as a search engine exclusively for restaurant discoveries. Restaurants register with these websites to secure a place in the search results, and in return reservation sites charge a fee when customers book through the site.
You might wonder, why would I break up with any of them when they claim to be looking out for me? According to recent research, search engine discoveries are no longer the primary way people look for restaurants. In fact, less than 50% look for restaurants through Google, and a mere 13% search for restaurants using dining apps such as Yelp and OpenTable. This means that you might be investing in a relationship that is actually going nowhere. Saying goodbye is no easy task, so let me help you decide whether now is the time to walk away. If any of the below applies to you, you might want to re-evaluate your relationship with your beloved third-party reservation sites.
You may find yourself wondering, ‘Would I have paid less if I switch to a different service?’, ‘What if I stop using them, would I lose my regular customers?’, ‘What if there’s something even better out there that I’m not aware of?’. These are all signs when you know you need to start thinking about the other options.
You don’t feel good in the relationship
You’re eager, motivated, and continuously striving to be better. You’re always seeking ways to be the best amongst your local businesses. However you are disappointed because your reservation site promised to to help you with advertising and gaining customers, but all they did was put your restaurant info into the search results together with other 1000 restaurants in the same area. As a result, your restaurant still ranks below your rival restaurant across the street. And again you wonder ‘am I better off without them?’.
It doesn’t feel right anymore
It felt right when you first signed the contract. You were getting countless new customers, and you thought it was a wise decision to partner with third-party reservation sites. As time passed, you successfully converted new customers into returning loyal customers. Just when you think things couldn’t be better, you receive the invoice from your partner and your jaws dropped. The fees have gone up despite the most people booking through the site are returning customers. You feel deceived and betrayed, as you believed that you’d be more profitable once you had captured loyal fans for your restaurant, but the invoice you received suggested differently.
It’s a dead end, and it’s not going to get better
You’ve been convincing yourself that things would turn around, but seeing more and more customers inquiring through other channels and fewer people reserving through booking sites you know the jig is up. It’s time to stop pouring all your resources into reservation sites and to start investing in alternative avenues, like social media. With over 60% of customers searching restaurants through various social media, it is without a doubt a channel that is worst investing.