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Customers are increasingly turning to mobile reservations to make bookings for restaurants.

The Rise of Mobile Reservations: How to Adapt Your Restaurant to Online Booking Trends

Whether it’s getting the hang of fancy flatlays at the inception on Instagram or integrating contactless QR code ordering during the pandemic, successful restaurants thrive through adapting to changing guest behaviour. 55% of Aussies say they prefer jumping online with their mobile rather than on a laptop or a desktop. What does that mean for your bookings? It pays to know that a large volume of reservations that come in for your venue are made on mobile.  

Mobile reservations have become a pivotal tool in not just attracting but also retaining patrons. Most restaurants today already have online storefronts – your website and social profiles! – so getting started with mobile bookings is easier than you may think.  

Let’s delve into why mobile reservations matter, how they benefit your business, and the best strategies and restaurant reservation software to help your venue adapt to bookings on the go. 

Understanding mobile reservations

Restaurant mobile reservations, in essence, is the ability for diners to book tables at your venue using their smartphones or tablets.  

In 2024, mobile reigns supreme and bookings are one of the most popular actions for users, driven by the rapid convenience it offers.  

To begin understanding the seismic shift to mobile reservations, we must first look at the way consumers interact with their mobile devices. The average person checks their mobile phone every 8 minutes, spending a quarter of their waking hours scrolling, tapping, and swiping. 53% also said they wouldn’t be able to go on with their day-to-day without their smartphone.  

And there’s more! 

Key statistics around mobile usage and bookings: 

  • 59% of Australians use online platforms to book restaurant tables and 65% of these bookings are made on a mobile device  
  • 9 out of 10 mobile searches lead to an action; more than half lead to actual buying behaviour 
  • At least 34% of restaurant bookings are made within the same day of dining 

For restaurateurs, this behaviour isn’t just a trend; it’s an opportunity. Imagine a potential customer browsing through your menu on their way home from work, quickly deciding to make a booking with just a few taps (the fewer the better, but more on this later).  

The magic of mobile reservations is in its convenience at any moment, coupled with a painless process done within minutes. No waiting for someone at a busy restaurant to pick up the phone or struggling to get the right spelling of your name across the fuzzy lines. Given the sharp rise in mobile bookings, your audience certainly agrees! 

Mobile reservations can help fill empty tables

Why are mobile bookings important for restaurants? 

We know now that mobile reservations empower customers to book on-the-go, at any time of day, enhancing convenience and spontaneity. This means adopting a mobile-first approach is no longer an option but a necessity in today’s hospo world.  

By allowing instant online bookings on mobile, your restaurant can fill tables that might otherwise go empty due to last-minute cancellations or no-shows. This flexibility not only boosts sales but minimises revenue loss during peak times.  

With mobile reservation software that’s always on, you can also ensure maximum efficiency for your business. Anyone on duty will be able to easily access the online booking system to check incoming reservations and special requests. 

Learn more about how online reservation software can help optimise your operations.  

Choosing the best restaurant reservation software for mobile  

When choosing a mobile-friendly reservation system, consider factors such as features (like real-time updates and integrations), pricing models, and user feedback. Now Book It offers comprehensive hospitality reservation solutions tailored to the needs of different businesses, from single-location restaurants and large multi-venue groups to cafes, bars and wineries. 

But don’t just take our word for it. Here are three core qualities to keep in mind when selecting your mobile reservation software: 

  • Streamlined processes: The best table reservation software should simplify the reservation process for customers. With the option to take reservations on social media, Now Book It allows guests to book within just a few clicks. Also ensure the system can automate confirmations and reminders to reduce the likelihood of missed bookings. 
  • Easy-to-use interface: An intuitive mobile booking interface is key to providing a smooth experience for customers. Look for a widget that offers a clean, responsive design that allows for easy navigation and quick bookings. Ideally, this widget should embody your restaurant’s brand logo and colours too! 
  • Integration with existing systems: Seamless integration with your current operations is pivotal for maintaining efficiency. Whichever software you’re considering, check if they integrate with your POS system and other management tools to avoid disruptions.  

Tips on marketing your mobile reservations 

If you’re just starting out on taking mobile reservations, you have a great opportunity to market this handy new feature and put more diners in your seats! 

1. Promote it online  

When it comes to getting mobile reservations, online word-of-mouth is your bread and butter! Leverage your website and social media platforms to promote your new booking feature prominently. Highlight the benefits of booking online via mobile, such as convenience and real-time availability updates that go directly to their phones. 

2. Optimise your restaurant’s search visibility 

Improve your restaurant’s SEO by incorporating relevant keywords such as “book now” and “mobile bookings” into your website. This helps potential customers easily find your booking widget online when they look you up, instead of moving on to a competitor. 

3. Encourage reviews and feedback 

Encourage happy customers to leave reviews on platforms like Google My Business, Facebook or TripAdvisor. Positive reviews build credibility and attract more diners to book with confidence. That said, you should also always respond to negative reviews to ensure customers feel heard and do what you can to improve from the feedback. 

4. Leverage the micro-moments 

So much about dining out is in the experience, which is the cornerstone of making great memories with the people we love. Micro-moments are tied to the emotions of customers and can be anything from “I want to treat myself tonight!” or “I need to make a plan for a special occasion” or “Time to explore something new”. Consider these touchpoints when you’re brewing your next social post or restaurant flyer and encourage guests to book your venue now. 

Enhance your restaurant’s efficiency with mobile reservations 

Embracing mobile reservations not only meets the growing expectations of your tech-savvy patrons but also streamlines operations and gets more reservations down in the books. Ready to thrive in the mobile-first landscape and take your bookings to the next level?  

Book a demo with Now Book It today to get started. 

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