Romantics looking to get ahead of the rush to book Valentine’s Day restaurant reservations should do so before February 4, 2020. According to 2019 data released by OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations and part of Booking Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), the majority of diners wait until ten days or less in advance to make reservations – despite it being the most popular dining day of the year with a nearly 500 percent increase in reservations made on OpenTable compared to the average number of reservations made for the same day in the weeks surrounding the holiday.
Americans Crave Romance, but Don’t Prioritize It*
OpenTable’s deep dive into consumer behavior revealed that most respondents (64 percent) think of themselves as “often,” or even “very” romantic, and 65 percent of people want to fill their lives with more romantic gestures. When it comes down to it, however, OpenTable found that nearly three quarters (74 percent) have procrastinated making Valentine’s reservations. Nearly half (48 percent) of married people have to be reminded to book reservations for the heart-shaped holiday and that number goes up to almost 60 percent for actively-dating singles. Further, diners in California, New York and Florida are most likely to wait the longest to lock in a reservation. These OpenTable users contributed to the 17 percent who waited until day-of to book a Valentine’s Day reservation in 2019.
Single People Won’t Commit to Valentine’s Day Dates Ahead of Time*
When it comes to respondents who identified as “single,” 74 percent desire romance, but they are not willing to commit to a Valentine’s Day date ahead of time. In fact, 39 percent do not want to accept a Valentine’s Day invitation more than three weeks in advance, and 31 percent procrastinate making plans specifically to wait for a better date option.
Michael(s) and David(s) are Standout Valentine’s Day Planners
To help diners find the right date, OpenTable analyzed its data to identify the names of people who were associated with planning ahead for Valentine’s Day reservations. The top 5 best Valentine’s Day dinner planners in the U.S. tend to be Michael(s), David(s), John(s), Robert(s) and Chris’.
Make Valentine’s Day a Night to Remember
Based on OpenTable’s data, here are the top tips to make securing that perfect Valentine’s Day reservation easier:
- Embrace Your Early Bird (or Night Owl): The most popular time for dinner reservations on OpenTable for Valentine’s Day is 7:00 p.m. Grabbing a 6:00 p.m. or a 9:00 p.m. spot allows for ample time to enjoy your meal and get into the hot spot you have your eye on.
- Forget the 20-Course Tasting Menu: Upscale restaurants experience a significant spike in reservations for Valentine’s Day — we’re talking 228 percent compared to the average number of reservations made in the three preceding weeks for the same day of the week. Opting for your favorite go-to spot is a great workaround, saving the tasting menu for another Friday night.
- Taste Something New: American cuisine is the most popular choice for OpenTable diners on Valentine’s Day (46 percent pick steakhouses). Think outside the box when it comes to restaurant specialties for less competition and better luck landing that coveted 7:00 p.m. time slot.
- Go on a Double Date. Seriously: Last year, 83 percent of Valentine’s Day reservations on OpenTable were made for two people. Grab your best friends for a double date and lock in that available four-top!
“Valentine’s Day can strike fear into the hearts of even the most confident of couples. Rather than panic when it’s too late, we wanted OpenTable users to know key information about when to book a table,” says Jessica Jensen, SVP of Marketing, OpenTable. “To the majority of people who say that they’ve procrastinated making Valentine’s reservations, we say – don’t wait another day.”
OpenTable is also offering a daily shot at redemption for those who let the clock run out or want to try their hand at scoring a table at an OpenTable restaurant. By tagging your date and following OpenTable, winners will be rewarded with the security of a Valentine’s Day dinner reservation and $400 to spend, including some of the most romantic tables in the United States. The table giveaway runs February 1-12. Find out more here.
For more information on why not to delay this Valentine’s Day, go here.