Google recently launched a feature in its search engine results pages (SERP) that allows users to join a waitlist for restaurant dining. In partnership with DineTime, the feature allows users to both view the current wait time at a restaurant and input their party size. Users are then directed to a page where they can input their information to receive status updates.
‘Join Waitlist’ is Different From ‘Reserve a Table’ Feature
Currently, Google has a ‘reserve a table’ function that allows users to book and pay (should the restaurant require) for reservations without leaving Google’s user interface. The ‘join waitlist’ function differs in that it will give users real-time updates on the status of their table. It’s unclear whether the ‘join waitlist’ and ‘reserve a table’ features will be available at the same time, or if the waitlist is replacing reservations.
What The Waitlist Means For Marketers
1. Waitlist Feature Has Voice Search Potential
With the rise of voice search, we can expect Google to launch more features as part of Google My Business that replace the need to call an establishment and allow users (and their voice assistants) to complete actions themselves. For this reason, brands should keep an eye on Google My Business for future voice search updates. Consumers should expect to see more capabilities that allow voice assistants to stand in for people, and booking tables is an action that intuitively seems like a nice fit for virtual assistants.
2. Future Waitlist Data Opportunity
While the ‘join waitlist’ feature is currently on limited availability and has no connection to paid placements, brands should capitalize on the potential waitlist data. Understanding peak times of day and encouraging users to virtually stand in line can provide brands with more business during peak times. Using this information to bolster presence on search within Google My Business and paid results will certainly provide opportunities for improved performance.
Similarly, if brands can scrape information from their SERPs about when their competitors are the busiest and provide users with a better experience, it will give restaurants a step up on their competition. Being able to capitalize on this data will also help advertisers to understand what calls to action could be used to bolster foot traffic. For example, during peak wait times a restaurant could provide an incentive to customers who are willing to virtually stand in line. It could be a call to action that tells users they can receive a discount if they are waiting longer than 20 minutes – or perhaps a free appetizer for those who use the waitlist feature. Offering a way to virtually stand in line and other incentives during busy times can bring in customers who may be averse to the crowded dining experience.
Image Source: Search Engine Land