- Tripadvisor has launched a new feature that allows diners and travelers to buy gift cards to their favorite restaurants directly from the platform. Restaurants are also able to mark themselves as open for takeout or delivery through a new filter, according to a press release.
- The site suggests users contact the restaurant directly for instructions or provides the restaurant’s link to purchase a gift card.
- Tripadvisor is also generating support for restaurant workers through a match-for-action #LoveYourLocal social media campaign.
According to Tripadvisor, there are 5 million businesses on the platform that need help, which is why the company has added these features that make it easier for users to purchase gift cards or order takeout. Gift cards are one of few ways customers can help restaurants generate some income as traffic and sales plummet amid widespread stay-at-home orders.
“If everyone who can afford it ordered one gift card or a meal for delivery, that income could make all the difference in helping the local restaurant they love pay its bills and its staff during this period," Bertrand Jelensperger, SVP, Restaurants at Tripadvisor and CEO of TheFork, said in the release.
No doubt one of the challenges restaurants face right now is the ability to clearly communicate with their customers that they still provide revenue-generating business through takeout/delivery or through gift cards.
Tripadvisor adding a feature that shows which restaurants are offering takeout and delivery is similar to the feature Google Maps launched earlier this week, allowing the restaurants to receive orders without having to pay a third-party delivery service fee. Both features will help even the playing field for brands that do not already have a robust delivery and takeout platform while increasing awareness among consumers. Tripadvisor alone generates 463 million monthly users.
The difference between them, however, is that Google Maps kicks users directly to a brand’s website to facilitate delivery, while Tripadvisor pushes users to delivery partner websites, like DoorDash. Though plenty of brands are offering free delivery during the crisis, third-party delivery services usually charge a commission on each order, which can further erode already compromised profits at restaurants.
However, Tripadvisor does go a step further by directing customers directly to gift card purchase links. As Ralph Brennan, owner of New Orleans’ Brennan’s, told the Washington Post, gift cards won’t save a restaurant outright, but along with other support, it could help create liquidity for small restaurants.
Further, Tripadvisor’s #LoveYourLocal campaign encourages consumers to post an image of a restaurant gift card receipt, as well as a review to further bolster struggling concepts’ marketing presence while business is down.
Tripadvisor’s efforts reflect work being done around the industry by providers to help their restaurant partners. Restaurant reservation and rewards platform Seated launched a help hotline to support operators during the crisis, for example. DoorDash created #OpenForDelivery, an initiative aimed to let consumers know that restaurants are available for off-premise orders. And, Paytronix Systems is offering its self-service online ordering solution to customers of the Toast POS system with no monthly fee for six months. These are just a few of many examples.
Because of their ability to provide a “micro loan,” gift cards are also a target. Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger launched SaveOurFaves, a directory of Bay Area restaurants selling gift certificates, while Seattle-based The Intentionalist launched a gift certificate marketplace for restaurants who could not sell gift cards online or wanted to amplify their brand presence.