Reserved dinner table in vintage style cafe and restaurant. Close up and selected focus at the reserved sign metal plate.

ResDiary has released its latest analysis into booking insights, highlighting the new booking opportunities that hospitality venues may be missing out on.

Technology has shifted diner behaviour, with 36 per cent of all bookings now being made via social media and websites, with the trend doubling since 2021. As such, venues are having to shift their bookings strategy to accommodate the change in preferences.

“The insights show social media has become a pivotal driver in bookings with platforms like Instagram and Facebook having an increasing role in shaping dining decisions,” stated Rebecca Zeitunian, ResDiary’s APAC regional head of growth.

“Special occasions also play a big role in customers intent for booking yet our data highlights a disparity between the types of venues which choose to record special occasions for a more personalised customer experience.”

Major booking insights

Here are the five main insights from Resdiary’s 2023 ANZ Restaurant Booking Insights report:

  1. Rise of social media bookings

ResDiary data shows social media bookings have more than doubled since 2021, making up

for 3.8% of all bookings, compared to 1.15% in 2021. Diners are increasingly turning to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to secure their dining experiences.

At the Dove & Olive Hotel in Surry Hills, social media has become the primary tool for

advertising where they can both target and spread information to a big audience quickly.

Publican Chris Deale says, “over the last few years social media has generated consistent

bookings for our venue, especially for our special offer days like Sunday Roast or Trivia Night,

without it we’d be losing bookings.”

  • Un-noted special occasion bookings

ResDiary’s data analysis reveals a discrepancy in the recording of special occasion bookings.

More than 90 per cent of bookings are recorded by employees as standard

reservations, overlooking the valuable notes left by customers indicating a celebratory

nature of their visit, which could potentially enhance future customer experience.

By ignoring these notes, there is a missed opportunity to personalise and elevate the dining experience for guests, potentially leading to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

  • The power of convenience

Another significant trend is the doubling of bookings made directly through venue

websites using inbuilt reservation widgets. In 2023, website bookings accounted for 31.6 per cent of bookings in 2023, making a substantial leap from 13.45 per cent in 2021.

This trend reflects an increasing inclination among patrons to engage directly with venue/restaurant websites, bypassing third-party platforms. For venues, this trend underscores the importance of maintaining an up-to-date and user-friendly website with an integrated booking system. By offering a seamless online reservation experience, establishments can cater to the preferences of modern diners, capture a larger share of bookings, and foster stronger customer relationships.

  • Walk-ins and phone bookings are still a major component

While digital methods are reshaping the booking landscape as hospitality embraces automation, there still is a place for traditional booking methods. Traditional channels, including walk-ins and phone calls, continue to contribute significantly, accounting for the lions share at 58 per cent of all bookings.

  • Fostering loyalty

Remarkably, within a six-month window, a significant 87 per cent of customers make just one booking at the same venue, while 7.5 per cent of customers return for a second experience. This highlights the challenge of competing in a large and diverse hospitality landscape, but also presents the opportunity to capture repeat business by providing an excellent dining experience.

You can view the full bookings analysis report form ResDiary here.

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