Restaurant web traffic: is someone stealing yours?

When you think of stealing, you imagine shady characters creeping around under the cover of darkness. You don’t see a friendly rep, describing themselves as your restaurant’s “partner” and promising incremental reservations.
However, stealing your restaurant web traffic and, in turn, your revenue is exactly what some commission-based providers are doing. Take a look at some of the ways you may be losing money and what you can do to stop it.

 

restaurant web traffic

PPC - Pay Per Click

Many commission-based providers will pay Google, Bing or Yahoo so that a link to their site comes at the top of a search on specific terms. It means that someone specifically wants to come to your venue, types your exact restaurant name into a search engine and the top, highlighted result is a commission-charging portal.

The customer clicks on this paid advert and you pay the higher commission fee for any subsequent booking. People landing on these paid ads can be your regular diners who will just type in your restaurant name and click the first link. It’s essentially stealing your restaurant web traffic.

The image below is an example of PPC advertising on Glasgow’s India Quay. If OpenTable hadn’t placed an ad on the business’ name, India Quay’s own website would be top of the search. Customers would then click on this and they’d pay a fraction of the cost for any covers booked.

restaurant web traffic

There are a few ways to combat losing restaurant web traffic. One is to ensure your website appears highly on search engine listings without paying for ads. You can do this through quality website code, relevant copy and good Search Engine Optimisation. You can do this yourself or get a SEO specialist to help – we can advise you who to talk to.

Another is to enter into a PPC bidding war. Your booking provider pays Google to come up top, therefore you pay more to come above them. You end up spending lots of money diverting loyal customers to your site in order to save on commission charges…..

Google knowledge graph

It’s not just by applying PPC that your booking company tries to gain extra commission from your venue. Often you will see a “reservation” section on a Google Knowledge Graph, which is the box of information that pops up on the right when a business is searched. It includes the company website, phone number, address and busy times, amongst other things.

This section is great as it gives diners a way to make a reservation, directly from the Google Search page. However, if you pay a commission to your reservations provider, it could end up costing a lot of money. Everyone who is typing in your name is being given a clear option to book on a third party portal which costs you money. If you use ResDiary, you never pay commission on these bookings and what’s more, you can personalise your microsite to be in-keeping with your brand.

restaurant web traffic

Third party reservations

Signing up to some systems (we’re looking at you, OpenTable) means you can be locked into third party affiliate contracts. These say you need to accept reservations through booking widgets on their partner’s websites, whether you want them or not.

You’ll find bookings coming through TripAdvisor, The Michelin Guide, Afternoontea.co.uk and many more, that you have very little control over. It’s nearly impossible to turn these off unless you quit your reservation service. And the result? Even more sites who have good reason to steal your restaurant web traffic to gain commission.

If all of this sounds criminally crazy to you, there is another way.....

Use ResDiary and switch off the Internet highway robbers.

Don’t get us wrong, ResDiary’s not free, but we are fair. We operate on a flat monthly fee and don’t charge commission on reservations from our own sites, apps or your sites.

We work with many third parties, all of which you can opt out of and most of them at no extra cost. These include British Airways, Avios, The Irish Times, Lovin Dublin, Hardens, Visit Scotland, Time Out and many more. You have complete control over these third party channels and comprehensive reporting to check their success.

Our ethos is building your brand, not diluting it through stealing your web traffic.

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