- OpenTable, the online restaurant booking service, added features that are optimized for Apple’s new iOS 11 mobile operating system, according to a statement made available to Mobile Marketer. The company’s mobile app can now seamlessly share restaurant and reservation information with other apps like iMessage, according to a blog post by the company.
- OpenTable’s new Invite Guests feature has a drag-and-drop function that lets iPhone and iPad users send dining invitations and share restaurant reservation details in an iMessage conversation with other Apple device users. By tapping the “add guests” button on the reservation confirmation screen, diners can invite friends and colleagues to join a restaurant booking without the need for opening a new app or forwarding a confirmation email.
- The upgrade also lets people drag and drop reservations into other apps like the default calendar and mapping functions preloaded on Apple devices.
OpenTable’s upgrade comes as it faces greater competition from Airbnb, the home-based rental app that’s valued at $31 billion, according to Forbes. Airbnb last month added restaurant reservations by integrating its service with Resy, a restaurant booking service, for U.S. customers in a move to become a more holistic travel company.
OpenTable joins the companies that are upgrading their mobile apps to take advantage of Apple’s iOS 11, which was released in September. Apple’s latest mobile operating system includes support for augmented reality (AR) features in apps, drag-and-drop features that work across apps — like OpenTable's upgrade — and a redesigned App Store to help developers get noticed among the millions of apps.
But iOS 11 isn’t without its technical glitches, as tech writer Gordon Kelly points out in a separate Forbes column. The upgrade had serious email and battery life issues that Apple rushed to fix with its first update, iOS 11.0.1, which added more problems as Apple is being swamped with complaints, Kelly said. The glitches include slower performance, battery life issues that weren't properly fixed, app crashes, lock screen freezes, dropped Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections and overall instability.
Embracing Apple's new mobile operating system is just the latest in OpenTable's efforts to boost its capabilities and disrupt the restaurant reservation space. Improvements to its mobile and digital offerings like better browsing, booking and rewards options, coupled with its voice-based Alexa skill, have continued to position it as an industry leader. But as competitors like Airbnb follow suit, the company must continue to innovate to sustain growth.