Tech Vision is LSA’s series that spotlights emerging tech. Running semi-weekly, it reports on new technologies that LSA analysts track, including strategic implications for local commerce. See the full series here.
Resy just got a lot more relevant. As you may remember, American Express acquired the restaurant reservation platform back in May for an undisclosed amount. Now it’s taken the latest step in the integration by bringing Resy’s system and booking functionality directly into the Amex mobile app.
As background, Resy’s reservation platform is used by more than 4,000 restaurants across 10 countries. Think of it is as a sort of competitor to OpenTable that’s sought to differentiate itself with things like table management and onsite food ordering technologies for restaurants.
With that positioning and set of assets, Amex bought the company to essentially create more perks and convenience for its cardholders, pursuant to attracting or retaining their business. Amex’s longstanding play is corporate accounts and making cardholders feel more important through ego-boosting perks.
Presumably, Amex also felt it could advance Resy’s business with access to a larger addressable market of its cardholders. It can also boost Resy’s restaurant volume by combining its inventory with the Amex Express Global Dining Collection. That brings the total from 4,000 to 10,000 restaurants.
Back to this week’s news, Resy direct integration into Amex’s main app, advances all of the above. For one, it gives cardholders more direct access to reservations while they’re already in the app. That can be everything from checking balances to planning trips or accessing concierge services.
This is informed by user behavior Amex has tracked. For example, dining is a top spending category among cardholders, and it’s the top request in its Platinum Concierge service. This is a premium feature that involves things like booking travel and dinner reservations. That goes back to the cardholder ego-boost.
Further supporting the rationale to bring more perks and functionality to the mobile app, 84 percent of cardholders use the app or website to interact with Amex. The app has also grown 35 percent year-over-year in daily active users. So Amex wants to essentially bring Resy to the place cardholders already are.
This makes it more of a convenience play. In fact, Resy is still available as a standalone service. So the app integration is less about exclusivity and more about saving time, which should resonate with corporate users. That said, there are exclusive offers for cardholders, such as hard-to-get reservations.
Boiling it all down, what are strategic implications? For restaurants — or SMB-focused vendors that work with restaurants — Resy just became more relevant. Given its newfound distribution and access to all those big-spending cardholders, it should be a consideration for restaurants to get on its platform.
This joins the already-existing benefits that Resy brings to restaurants, particularly smaller restaurants. Congruent with the virtues of SMB Saas, Resy shoots for better SMB yield optimization such as liquidating the unused inventory (tables) and getting better analytics to inform marketing strategies.
Resy goes live this week to a segment of Amex’s Platinum Card Members, with others to follow. This also follows acquisitions of Pocket Concierge and restaurant checkout app Cake Technologies. Expect deeper levels of integration as Amex converges all this tech for a better cardholder one-stop-shop.
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