Travel deals and reservations site Priceline will buy restaurant reservation site OpenTable for $2.6 billion in cash. Darren Huston, Priceline's CEO, tells the Wall Street Journal that the sale makes sense because "the kind of work that we do day-to-day is very similar" to that of OpenTable, just the two companies are in "different marketplace[s]." The Priceline Group also owns a variety of travel-related sites like booking.com, agoda.com, KAYAK, and rentalcars.com. The press release notes (warning: PDF) that OpenTable currently has more than 31,000 restaurants on its roster and seats around 15 million customers a month. Even though its customer base is already so large, Huston believes there's plenty of room for the reservation site to grow, especially internationally and on mobile platforms. Priceline isn't the first travel deals site to enter into the restaurant reservations game: About a month ago, TripAdvisor purchased Paris-based reservation site Lafourchette, which TechCrunch labels the "so-called OpenTable of France."
OpenTable is one of the largest players in the ongoing restaurant reservation war due not only to its large restaurant and customer base, but also its partnerships and acquisitions. About six months ago, OpenTable paid $11.5 million for Quickcue, a guest management system, with which the company is developing "Mobile Waitlist Technology." Last year, OpenTable also announced a partnership with Facebook where users could make reservations directly from restaurants' mobile Facebook pages. The company also has a partnership with restaurant recommendation site Urbanspoon and it acquired mobile food porn app Foodspotting in 2013. Recently, OpenTable has been testing a "payments feature" on their mobile app and have launched a pilot program called "Hot Tables" that alerts customers to open reservations at tough-to-get-into restaurants. However, OpenTable is now facing plenty of competition with a growing number of sites and apps like Yelp and Resy all launching restaurant reservation platforms.