Yelp turns up heat on restaurant reservations sites

The reviews site rolls out a new tool that lets customers book restaurant reservations directly from its website on mobile or desktop.

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Yelp

It looks like Yelp could be eating into some of OpenTable and Trip Advisor's business. The reviews site launched a free tool on Tuesday that lets diners book restaurant reservations directly from its website.

Yelp Reservations lets customers book a reservation from the Yelp business listing on their mobile or desktop computers. Users will also get a text message reminder and an option to cancel or change their reservation via text.

"Yelp is not just about discovering great local businesses, it also helps consumers transact with these businesses without ever leaving the site," the company wrote in a blog post. "As more restaurants take advantage of this new free tool, expect to see many more options when looking to make an online reservation on Yelp."

Yelp has already offered reservations through Yelp SeatMe, a startup acquired by the company last year. But, Yelp Reservations lets smaller and lesser-known restaurants -- that don't need the heft of Yelp SeatMe -- to also sign up for the service.

Letting users book reservations through Yelp puts the company in direct competition with known reservations services and other companies getting into the restaurant display game. For example, Google acquired the restaurant website design company Appetas last week. With the acquisition, it's possible Google could amp up how restaurants are displayed on its site, as well as offer services like reservations.

Yelp Reservations is available for businesses in the restaurant and nightlife categories in the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland. It's unclear when the feature will roll out to other countries.

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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