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Gaucho Restaurants' Bespoke Web Booking Engine Increases Opt-ins by 1780%.

By Neil Kilgallon on Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Gaucho Restaurants asked ID Studio to port their outdated, unstable WordPress websites to the latest version of the popular content management system and provide ongoing website support and maintenance services. We were later tasked with developing a bespoke booking engine powered by the OpenTable API. To deliver a completely flexible and scalable system, we used the Laravel framework, which seamlessly works alongside their WordPress CMS.

ID Studio specialises in Laravel website development. Laravel is a PHP framework that allows us to build extremely powerful and bespoke content management systems. It has no boundaries, so there are no restrictions on the platform we create. Everything is built from the ground up to Gauchos' precise requirements.

Technical Web Development Requirements

The client provided us with the following broad list of requirements.

  • Integrate the OpenTable Consumer API for bookings, including bookings requiring card processing using Stripe.
  • The platform needed to be built on the Laravel framework.
  • The whole platform needed to sit behind Cloudflare for additional security.
  • We needed to integrate everything with Acteol's (CRM) Client Relationship Management system.
  • Maximise the number of people making a booking that would agree to sign up for the email newsletter so that they could be remarketed.

Front-end Web Design

ID Studio's front-end design team worked closely with Gaucho to create a user-centric journey that would maximise bookings whilst looking to minimise dropoffs during the booking process. Another core requirement was to ensure that newsletter signups were maximised during the booking process.

  • Integrate the OpenTable Consumer API to provide a bespoke booking journey for table reservations.
  • Includes booking experiences such as Steak Night and selecting add-ons like bottles of wine.
  • Capture group booking requests for parties over x number of guests.
  • If no spaces are available, the system will suggest other restaurants nearby.
  • We planned and designed the whole booking journey to be as seamless as possible.

Backend-end Web Development

Our back-end web development team, led by Darren Chowles, has over 20 years of commercial experience and specialises in platform development. Darren is a Certified Laravel Developer, speaking at Laravel conferences in London and is Security+ certified. Darren ensured the front-end code was seamlessly integrated into the booking engine, content and client relationship management systems. Functionality included:

  • Ability to manage all available restaurants including contact details, images, group booking threshold (e.g. some restaurants require group bookings for 6+, some 8+, etc.).
  • Comprehensive reporting solution, ability to report on all bookings and group booking.
  • A booking abandonment report allows staff to see where in the booking process the guest dropped off, allowing them to direct specific business decisions like whether a card is required for booking, etc.
  • With the data collected, the reporting is in a position to be expanded to include the following:
    • Most popular special occasion bookings per restaurant.
    • Most popular party size, restaurant, etc, by bookings.
    • Popular days of the month, days of the week, times of the day, to identify trends, peak times and seasons.
    • Booking lead time report - restaurants with the most last-minute bookings (booking date/time vs date/time booked for).
    • Use AI to determine the most popular special requests globally or per restaurant.
    • Customer retention report - identify repeat visits using email/phone number.
    • These reports can include charts like:

The Results

This is best left to Patrick Powell, the digital marketing manager at Rare Restaurants, who posted the following on LinkedIn:

Mission success!

Very excited to have launched the OpenTable consumer API on the GAUCHO and M Restaurants. This marks an exciting phase in the evolution of our websites to further improve the user journeys and UX. It started as a simple project to battle the downward trend of marketing opt-ins, specifically via booking platforms, by allowing us to incentivise opt-ins. In the first 7 days, we have exceeded our expectations…

  • 4.1k bookings – 1.9k opted into marketing
  • A 47% opt-in rate – previously 2.5%
  • Overall opt-ins have increased by 1780%

Neil has been a director within a web design agency for over 20 years. Starting out in 1997, at a time when 56k Modems were deemed cutting edge, his focus now lies in digital marketing and strategy, especially search engine optimisation, social media strategy and analytics.