Easy Restaurant Reservations While Traveling
By Kim R. Jessum
Kim R. Jessum is of counsel at Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP, in Philadelphia working in the firm’s intellectual property group. She can be contacted at kjessum@stradley.com.
Weary business travelers, you no longer need to be stuck in your hotel rooms eating overpriced room-service food alone. Now you can find the perfect restaurant before you even arrive or make a reservation from the comfort of your hotel room to avoid waiting in those long lines. All you need is your computer and Web sites like the following ones the next time you travel.
OpenTable.com™ (www.opentable.com)—
For restaurant reservations at over 6,000 restaurants in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Hong-Kong, Japan, and Mexico. Registered users receive reward points for each reservation that can be redeemed for a certificate to use at participating restaurants. Bonus points are also available for reserving at certain designated times. Reservation information may be downloaded into your Outlook calendar and sent to others via an invitation. If there is no availability at a restaurant at the requested time, you may search for the next available opening; this is particularly useful for those new, popular restaurants that have minimal availability.
It is important to cancel or change a reservation by calling the restaurant or through the OpenTable Web site if you cannot honor the reservation. Your account will be deactivated automatically if you accumulate four no-show reservations within the same twelve-month period.
Savvy Diner (www.savvydiner.com)—
For restaurant reservations in many U.S. cities (minimal participating restaurants). Gift certificates for participating restaurants may be purchased through Savvy Diner. Registration with the site is not required, but more personal information is required for each reservation. After you choose a restaurant, you must complete a reservation request at least twenty-four hours before the requested reservation time. Reservations are confirmed via email, fax, or phone.
Dinner Broker (www.dinnerbroker.com)—
For restaurant reservations in the United States and Canada. Dinner Broker also offers discounts, special offers, and discounted gift certificates for certain restaurants. Similar to OpenTable, points are awarded for reservations and for referrals to friends, but there are fewer participating restaurants. Points may be accumulated for a gift certificate to a participating restaurant. The search results on Dinner Broker are shown in a spreadsheet that indicates availability and discounts. Discounts of 10–30 percent are offered for reservations at off-peak hours. Reservations may be canceled on the site or by calling a customer service hotline. There are no posted penalties for “no shows.”
If you are traveling for the holidays or just do not feel like cooking this holiday season, why not go online to make your holiday restaurant reservations? Many restaurants offer special holidays menus you can view online. But move quickly because they will book up fast.