Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, and you might be trying to plan out a special evening with that special someone. According to research done by the National Restaurant Association, Valentine’s Day is the second busiest night of the year for dining out! Rather than showing up at your restaurant of choice the day of and risking having to wait for a table, why not book your reservation online in advance?
In today’s article, we’ll tell you about the best websites and apps you can use to make dinner reservations for Valentine’s Day (or any day, really), and give you some tips for how to help your booking go smoothly. The five websites and services we would recommend are:
If you need some advice, hop down to our 4 tips for getting a reservation on Valentine’s Day. Without further ado, here is our list of the best websites for making Valentine’s reservations, so you can get started as soon as possible.
OpenTable.com is an online reservation booking service that has been around since 1998, and was acquired by Priceline in 2014. OpenTable allows users to book reservations through their website or mobile app, and write reviews about their experience at restaurants after their visit. OpenTable can help you make a reservation at one of over 37,000 restaurants worldwide. You can search restaurants and reservations by date and time, price range, and types of cuisine. Registered users can even earn rewards points after dining, which can be used at participating restaurants for a discount on your next meal.
TripAdvisor.com originated as a site for reviews of hotels and attractions in different cities so that travelers could get ideas for great spots to check out while visiting a particular city. More recently, TripAdvisor added a feature that allows users to book reservations online as well! The great thing about TripAdvisor is that you can browse restaurants, read reviews, and book reservations – all on one site. TripAdvisor is accessible through your computer’s web browser, or you can use their app for iOS or Android mobile devices.
If you want to learn more about TripAdvisor, check out our free course on TripAdvisor.
Yelp.com is similar to TripAdvisor in that it started as a site where people could write reviews of various restaurants, stores, and other companies. Yelp has since expanded to allow users to make reservations on their site as well. Like TripAdvisor, you can browse restaurants and read customer reviews of restaurants in your area, pick one that interests you, and book your reservation. You can use Yelp on your desktop computer, or download the app for your iOS or Android device.
If you’d like to learn more about Yelp, have a look at our Yelp course here.
Bookenda.com helps users find and book reservations for restaurants, bars, spas, and other services. You can search for restaurants in a specific city, by a certain cuisine, or browse available reservations by date, time, and number of guests. You can also filter your search results to show restaurants with a certain rating, or by the types of customers they attract (couples, families, etc.). Bookenda is based in Canada, but also allows users to make reservations for restaurants in select cities in the U.S. and France.
Reserve.com is a website and app (for iOS only) that helps you find restaurants in your local area, and works within major cities in the U.S. Reserve also allows you to filter by cuisine type, but it also allows you to narrow your search right down to a specific neighbourhood rather than just a city. It also lets you filter your search by “vibe” – choosing from options such as elegant, intimate, casual, lively, brunch, power lunch, and so on.
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And that’s our list of the 5 best resources for booking a reservation on Valentine’s Day. We all know this can still be a struggle though, so check out our tips below on how to help your booking go smoothly, so you can get a table for your Valentine.
Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular night of the year for dining. If you wait until the day before to try to find a table, you likely won’t be able to. Even a couple of days before will really limit your available options. To be safe, start the search at least two weeks in advance, and make sure you choose as least one restaurant that can accommodate you. You can always cancel the reservation if something better comes along, so make sure to give yourself as much time as possible.
Because there are so many people trying to make reservations, occasionally some fall by the wayside. If you call and there was an error, it is much easier to sort out a few days before than the night of when the restaurant doesn’t have a table for you. It will also give you time to find another restaurant if for some reason, they cannot honor your original reservation or can no longer accommodate you.
Many popular and chain restaurants won’t even offer reservations on Valentine’s Day because they know how busy they will be. Try finding an independently-owned restaurant that’s smaller and more intimate. They are more likely to accommodate you, and will probably make the night more special than a big restaurant that knows another table will come along in an instant.
Seating in a restaurant generally works based on who the manager believes is likely to spend more money while dining. In general, a larger group of people will spend more money than a couple. In addition, everyone on Valentine’s Day is trying to get tables for two, and depending on the setup of the restaurant, if those tables go fast, this could be the reason you were denied a reservation. Try finding another couple or a group to spend your romantic night with (or gather up the girlfriends if you just want to go out on Valentine’s), and ask for a larger table. You may be able to get a reservation right away!
Those are all of our top recommendations for websites and apps to use to book dinner reservations this Valentine’s Day. Have you tried any of these sites before? Let us know your thoughts on them in a comment below! If you’re looking for sites where you can order flowers for your significant other for Valentine’s Day, check out our article on the best flower delivery services. If it’s a special gift you need, try our article on the best bargain websites for finding Valentine’s Day gifts.
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