As Local Regulations for Dining Change, OpenTable Launches New Safety Tools for Diners and Restaurants

August 9, 2021 at 9:00 AM EDT
COVID-19 vaccine requirements can now be easily found when making a reservation;
New In-App Direct Messaging feature allows diners to seamlessly interact with restaurants to ask questions and lets restaurants keep customers up-to-date on changing protocols

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In this next chapter of the pandemic, restaurants and diners are facing new hurdles as they look to navigate changing restrictions, masking and vaccination requirements and more. While in NYC the rules are clear - as of August 16 you must show proof of vaccination to dine indoors - in other cities the rules vary. To help, OpenTable, the world's leading provider of online restaurant reservations and part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), rolled out updated safety precautions, which now include details on COVID-19 vaccine requirements, and Direct Messaging to streamline communication between restaurants and diners. 

COVID-19 vaccine requirements can now be easily found when making a reservation on OpenTable

"Dining demand in the U.S. is down 13% compared to just one month earlier with cities like Minneapolis, Seattle and New York showing significant declines. Just as restaurants were starting to rebound from a devastating 2020 - the Delta variant and ever-changing mandates come as another hurdle," said Debby Soo, CEO of OpenTable. "Our hope is that these new tools make it easier for restaurants to continue to welcome people in and help diners feel safe and informed about dining out."

OpenTable Direct Messaging: Text the Restaurant for the Latest Guidelines
As safety restrictions quickly evolve for both diners and restaurateurs, OpenTable is streamlining communication with Direct Messaging, a new feature that lets diners and restaurants communicate directly once a reservation is made - without ever having to make a phone call. Whether it's diners asking questions about "proof of vaccination" requirements or the safety measures a restaurant is taking or restaurants informing diners of a new policy, Direct Messaging ensures both parties are ready once it's time for the reservation. Over 1,500 restaurants on OpenTable are currently using the feature.

Easily Discover Which Restaurants Require Vaccinations
Proof of vaccination is becoming a new safety standard that people will need to navigate. To simplify that process, OpenTable now allows restaurants to display COVID-19 vaccine requirements to diners, allowing up-front communication about what people can expect before dining in. As a part of OpenTable's existing "Safety Precautions" feature, this new vaccine requirement option continues to allow restaurants to clearly communicate what health and safety steps they are taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Soon, OpenTable will also launch a national list, updated in real-time, of restaurants that are currently requiring proof of vaccination - for more information visit the OpenTable blog here.

These new features join OpenTable's existing resources and tools to help support restaurants and ensure people can dine out safely, including its reopening heat map, Open Near Me tool, virtual waitlists and more. Since the beginning of the pandemic, OpenTable has been at the forefront of supporting the industry through a number of initiatives, such as the State of the Industry dashboard showing global dining demand, expanded reservation capabilities to grocery stores, bars, wineries and college dining halls, new tools like virtual waitlists and safety precautions, enhanced takeout and delivery offerings and more.

For more information on these new features and how to continue supporting restaurants amid the pandemic, visit the OpenTable blog.

About OpenTable
OpenTable, part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), powers reservations for the hospitality industry. OpenTable's software seats more than 1 billion people per year and helps more than 60,000 restaurants, bars, wineries and other venues attract guests, manage capacity, improve operations and maximize revenue.

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SOURCE OpenTable, Inc.

Lisa Singh, CommsTeam@opentable.com