Foursquare takes restaurant bookings – how long until it locates late hotels and activities?
Foursquare is moving further away from its quirky gaming debut a few years back to something, well, more useful – bookings for destination service such as restaurants.
The website-version of the location check-in service has allowed users to make what it calls a “one-check reservation” for restaurants since May this year via a deal with food booking platform OpenTable.
But with Foursquare’s natural home being on the mobile, instant reservations coming to handsets last week was an obvious and logical progression of its partnership with OpenTable.
The service is simple: if a user finds a (OpenTable-covered) restaurant in their immediate vicinity when they fire up the app and they fancy making a booking they just tap a button within the app and the table is reserved.
A decent facility for foodies on-the-go – but immediately such a move illustrates where Foursquare might finally be able to find its real worth for travellers, especially in the hotel, tour and activity sectors.
Some might question why would Foursquare users suddenly want to book a hotel room that night instead of trying to grab the mayorship of the local bagel house – there’s no market for it, right?
These are probably the same people who never even considered there would be massive demand for last-minute bookings on mobile devices – in other words: the same people now cursing sites such as Hotel Tonight, Blink Booking et al.
In fact, partnerships down the line between Foursquare and any of those sites (or their online travel agency rivals who have seen the opportunity such as Booking.com) seem pretty obvious now.
It is the one-click (ish) element to this which works so well for the user.
Same goes for the tour and activity space, arguably even more so. Instant reservations or tickets for a museum, gallery, theme park (perhaps avoiding the annoying queue) through a booking platform for tours and activities is a logical next step.
Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.