Daily deals site Groupon has launched a new feature that allows businesses to offer users reservation-based deals that may only be redeemed at pre-assigned times. According to a press release (below), customers can make a reservation or book an appointment through Groupon's mobile app or website for a specific time. The company hopes to install the service at all business that accept reservations or take appointments.
Groupon has been testing this program at 100 restaurants and bars, including chef Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill in Chicago. Bayless' notes in the press release that the largest advantage he sees with the program is that "they're making it really easy for us to fill tables during off-peak times, which generates more revenue for the restaurant and gives us more opportunities to attract new customers and turn them into lifelong fans." Frontera tells the Chicago Tribune, that during the trial, the restaurant earned $1,629 on tables that would have otherwise be empty.
Since these new Groupon deal reservations are booked ahead of time and can only be used during a certain time period, customers no longer need to show a voucher for the meal deal when they choose to redeem it. TechCrunch writes that these time-based deals are being rolled out at restaurants starting today and will expand to other categories like beauty salons, events, auto shops, and more. There is no additional fee to use the feature.
Groupon's latest feature puts it into the same category as many reservation and ticket-based applications like Resy and Nick Kokonas' ticketing system. Will diners hop on board this new trend en mass? Go, see the press release and a clip about how the feature works:
Groupon Unveils Time-Based Deals
Today, Groupon (http://www.groupon.com) (NASDAQ: GRPN) announced a new time-based deals option for all local businesses that accept reservations or take appointments, enabling them to control exactly when customers come into their business. After a successful pilot with Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill (http://www.groupon.com/deals/frontera-grill-2) in Chicago and approximately 100 other food and beverage establishments, the platform is now available to all restaurants that accept reservations with plans to expand to other categories of merchants that take appointments.
"Offering this type of deal through Groupon is a fantastic way for even the busiest restaurants to diversify the ways in which they engage with customers and strengthen their brand"
"Offering this type of deal through Groupon is a fantastic way for even the busiest restaurants to diversify the ways in which they engage with customers and strengthen their brand," said Rick Bayless, owner of Frontera Grill, Chicago. "They're making it really easy for us to fill tables during off-peak times, which generates more revenue for the restaurant and gives us more opportunities to attract new customers and turn them into lifelong fans."
Customers have the option to make a reservation or book an appointment via the Groupon mobile app or Groupon.com at the time of purchase or afterwards. Since the purchase is booked in advance for a specific time, there is no longer a need to present a mobile device or voucher when deals are redeemed.
"Groupon is making it easier for people to buy and book what they want, when they want it and also providing local businesses with an important yield management tool that drives additional revenue," said Julie Szudarek, senior vice president, Local Deals. "Our new booking technology provides merchants even greater control over their deals to match the needs of their business and offers a tremendous customer experience. And as more and more businesses list their reservation and appointment inventory with us, it gives our customers another reason to always check Groupon first."
Reservation and appointment deals will expand soon to other popular categories, including salons, spas, classes and activities. Any business interested in running these types of offers can contact email@example.com.