- American Express added a restaurant booking tool to its mobile app, letting Platinum Card and Centurion members make reservations at more than 10,000 eateries worldwide, according to an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. The new service follows the company's recent acquisitions of reservation platforms Resy and Pocket Concierge, and of fintech startup Cake Technologies.
- The booking tool gives customers access to restaurants in the American Express Global Dining Collection, along with those listed by Bookatable and SevenRooms. Amex is first introducing the service among a portion of its Platinum Card members before a broader rollout early next year, per the announcement.
- When Amex announced its acquisition of Resy, it said the platform works with about 4,000 restaurants in 154 U.S. cities and 10 countries, and handled more than 2.6 million diners a week. Pocket Concierge let customers book reservations at more than 800 restaurants in Japan.
By adding restaurant reservations to its mobile app, Amex is responding to the top request received by its Platinum Concierge service. Because dining is the biggest-spending category among Amex cardholders, the company can help to ease the friction of finding a restaurant, booking a table and managing reservations. The service could also be important to on-the-go consumers who increasingly depend on their smartphones to manage travel itineraries and find recommendations on where to eat while they're visiting unfamiliar cities.
Amex's in-app restaurant reservations tool can help to distinguish its brand from rivals in the travel booking and payments industries. As companies like Apple and Facebook move into digital payments, and search giant Google disrupts the travel-booking industry, Amex needs to keep pace with prevailing trends among tech-savvy consumers. Eighty-four percent of its cardholders use its app or website, while Amex's daily app usage has jumped 35% from a year earlier, TechCrunch reported.
Other financial services brands have similarly ramped up their efforts in the hospitality and restaurant space. Mastercard in April launched what it bills as a permanent international culinary collective in New York City. Called Priceless, the concept showcases a rotating selection of top-rated, destination restaurants from around the world, and is only accessible to Mastercard cardholders.
In addition to restaurant booking, mobile apps are driving growth in delivery orders from eateries. Six out of 10 digital orders are made through mobile apps, per NPD Group. Digital orders have increased at an average annual rate of 23% since 2013 and are expected to triple in volume by the end of next year, the market research company estimated.