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TimesCity Partners Mobikon To Offer Restaurant Reservations

TC(By Apurva Chaudhary & Vikas SN)

Times Internet’s city guide TimesCity has partnered with Mobikon platform to allow users book reservations directly through the site.

While the financial terms and deal period have not been disclosed yet, Times Internet said it will integrate Mobikon’s Konekt platform to the TimesCity portal, allowing users to check for table availability in real time. Mobikon CEO Samir Khadepaun told Medianama that the service will go live next week (October 1) across 200 restaurants, with more restaurants in the pipeline.

Restaurant Bookings: Elaborating on the partnership, Khadepaun said this partnership consists of two parts – First, TimesCity will be offering a Mobikon powered button to allow users check for table availability in real time and book them online. Following this, consumers will get an alert for booking confirmation along with a Google Maps link which will provide directions to the restaurant.

This will be directly integrated to Mobikon’s customer relationship management (CRM) solution ‘Concierge‘ which is provided to its partners, thereby allowing restaurants to keep track of their customers preferences and reservations it receives from various platforms like TimesCity and other booking partners.

Second, Mobikon has setup tablet based feedback forms in its partner restaurants through which consumers can share their reviews about that specific restaurant. Through this partnership, customers will also now have an option to share this review on TimesCity. The company claims that it has collected around 50,000 reviews from around 200 restaurants until now.

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From TimesCity’s perspective, this partnership will allow it to transition itself from a mere city guide to provide more services, thereby opening more doors for monetization. This will also possibly increase the number of reviews on TimesCity, although it is yet to be seen if these reviews are qualitative or not.

TimesCity-Gawbl: Last month, TimesCity had acqui-hired the Pune-based restaurant recommendation mobile app Gawbl, just four months after the app was launched on Android. Post acquisition, TimesCity had shut down the app and had stated plans to add Gawbl features like its recommendation mechanism to the current TimesCity mobile app.

On the other hand, Mobikon offers cloud based digital marketing and customer engagement platforms for hospitality and retail industries. It’s product Konekt is an integrated suite of digital marketing, analytics and customer engagement applications. The company claims that it works with more than 500 leading restaurant brands and gets over 1.5 million customers every month.

In July 2012, it had raised $1.7 million in a series A round led by led by Singapore-based Jungle Ventures with participation of angel investor Ravi Mantha, Member of the Board of Trustees at The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) and a few others.

Other Players

By entering into restaurant reservation market, TimesCity will compete with companies like Bookurtable, Dineout, GourmetItUp.comTablewalla and TableGrabber that offer online restaurant reservation facility. Earlier this month, Zomato also  launched a new catering section, which allows users to browse through various caterers, select a caterer based on various factors like cuisine and pricing among others and then call up the caterer to make the booking.

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In August 2013, online and telephone business listings service JustDial had launched an online food delivery service.  Other services that offer food delivery include JustEat and Rocket Internet-backed FoodPandaBigBite.in which offers online food delivery in Delhi-NCR region and Deliverychef.in which offers online food ordering service in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Pune regions. In June 2013, online food ordering service TastyKhana.com raised more than $5 million from Delivery Hero, an online food ordering marketplace.

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