Yelp Launches Free Online Reservation Service

Yelp is trying to become a real OpenTable competitor with the launch of their new Yelp Reservation service, which is free for both customers and restaurants (as long as they have claimed their restaurant page on Yelp). Yelp acquired SeatMe, a small OpenTable competitor in late 2013 which originally charged restaurants $99 per month, and announced today that they have transformed it into Yelp Reservations, where customers can make reservations directly on a restaurant's Yelp page.

"By simplifying the reservation process and offering this feature free of charge to all businesses that have claimed their Yelp business page, we continue to deliver on our fundamental goal to connect people to great local businesses," Elliot Adams, a spokesperson for Yelp in London told Tech Crunch. "As consumer demand grows for the ability to reserve a restaurant online, and business owners look for ways to translate online search results into custom, Yelp Reservations connects the dots to deliver a solution, at zero cost."

Yelp is saying that Yelp Reservations and the original SeatMe are "essentially different products," with different price points. As compared with OpenTable, the SeatMe website boasts that it has no contract, cancelation or subscription fees. Yelp Reservations will also come with opportunities for restaurants to send text and email alerts about reservation openings and reminders. 

Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi