OpenTable encourages diners to travel with its new loyalty play
01/21/2019|6:41:53 PM|Skift

U.S.-based members of OpenTable’s loyalty program can now redeem their OpenTable Dining Points for discounted hotel stays on sister company, travel metasearch site Kayak.

For example, an OpenTable user can redeem 2,000 OpenTable Dining Points for a $40 discount on hotel bookings made on opentable.kayak.com. Diners must have at least 2,000 points to enjoy discounted savings, and they also have the option to continue to use those points toward a $10 Amazon gift card, or anywhere from $10 to $25 off a restaurant reservation. While Kayak is primarily a metasearch site, the actual hotel bookings are powered by a sister brand, called Rocketmiles.

The idea for this loyalty connection resulted from the fact that OpenTable and Kayak now share the same executive leadership team, following the October departure of former OpenTable CEO Christa Quarles and subsequent appointment of Kayak CEO Steve Hafner as the restaurant reservations platform’s new leader.

“Now that Kayak and OpenTable are part of the same family and we report to the same executive team, we decided to take a look at the program and tried to find a way to provide incremental value to OpenTable users,” Kayak CEO Steve Hafner told Skift. “Our diners love to travel and our travelers love to eat. It’s getting diners to travel more.”

This loyalty connection between Kayak and OpenTable hints at a future where not just OpenTable and Kayak — but all of Booking Holdings’ six brands — are presented to consumers as a comprehensive, consolidated platform offering them a variety of experiences, from dining and hotel stays to flights and tours.

When asked if this is part of a move toward a single, unified loyalty program for Booking Holdings, Hafner said, “I think that makes a hell of a lot of sense, and it’s something we’re looking at.”

The Kayak-OpenTable tie-in is just the start, followed by the need to establish common account profiles and log-ins for all of Booking’s brands. Helping restaurants better know their customers is another motivating factor in this move to beef up OpenTable’s loyalty program — something Booking’s other brands haven’t quite explored previously.

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