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 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.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Guillaume

    @kevin always a pleasure to read Tnooz even though I have been a passive reader lately 🙂

    I hear what you guys say in terms of “exploring” but I wonder how many users click on that 2nd tab Explore and make an impulse purchase (eg booking a restaurant) by finding what they want. Unless you tell me by email or sms that since you are in the vicinity of Paddington, Foursquare think I would like this restaurant (based on past social activity) I won’t be that engaged to use the Explore button on this app. Maybe this is just me..

  2. Hannah Simons

    I too agree that this is a logical progression. Alongside offering incentives and discounts to users in vincinities near to where they are checking in, they have simply allowed a full service for location allowing you to find restaurants, check in and then discover discounts, offers and reviews of where you are.

  3. Guillaume

    I am not sure this sounds as a logical step to me.

    Foursquare users use the app to check-in in all sort of places. Restaurants is one of the category they check-in. Why people do it? There is some gaming element into this and people like to share where they are with their friends

    Why on earth would you make a booking on Foursquare app on a restaurant you already checked-in? As a long time user, I don’t use Foursquare to find places I want to check-in. I am already there! So unless the UI is changed dramatically to force the user to make Foursquare a location search tool, I am not sure they will change their behavior and use it as way to book anything.

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @guillaume – hey, thx for the comment. Long time, no hear :).

      I suspect it’s not about making a reservation for somewhere you’re already checked in to, but when you’re in the vicinity.

      So you might be at a museum or something like that, then fancy a bite to eat, so you check and make the reservation.

    • Alex Kremer

      Foursquare already made this change. Click the Explore tab next time you’re in the app — there’s a whole lot of discovery to be made.

  4. Alex Kremer

    A logical step!


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