Driving restaurant bookings via the affiliate channel

We’ve recently been giving some thought to how we can harness the affiliate channel to drive table bookings for the onsite restaurants of our hotel clients. Naturally, a prerequisite to this is the facility to book a table online, and with this in place we’d be able to track table reservations via the affiliate network in exactly the same way as we track hotel bookings.

We've recently been giving some thought to how we can harness the affiliate channel to drive table bookings for the onsite restaurants of our hotel clients. Naturally, a prerequisite to this is the facility to book a table online, and with this in place we'd be able to track table reservations via the affiliate network in exactly the same way as we track hotel bookings.

In terms of strategy, we'd consider working with loyalty affiliates, incentivising the consumer to book with our clients with a nominal cashback or points offer. We'd also investigate email opportunities, and the voucher code demographic could offer huge opportunity to reach vast audiences.

Sounds simple, but there are a number of factors that need to be considered. We'd have to be vigilant in our validation of commission to ensure we don't pay out on bookings that are subsequently cancelled. We'd also need to give consideration to leakage to phone; with consumers so accustomed to booking restaurants in this way, we'd need a solution in place to ensure that affiliate traffic that converts over the phone is tracked and rewarded. Finally, setting the appropriate level of commission would be central to the success of the initiative.

It's an idea in the very early stages, but we'll be keeping a close eye on the success of Zizzi's similar campaign over the next few months and use the learning from this to influence our recommendations to our clients.