OpenTable has a price estimate of $52

Gogobot integration helps the stock's valuation, but superstorm Sandy fallout doesn't.

By Trefis Nov 19, 2012 10:39AM
Medioimages Photodisc Getty Images Getty ImagesEarlier this week, social travel site Gogobot announced that it will now allow users to make reservations at various restaurants across the country through a new feature supported by OpenTable (OPEN).

This is a welcome piece of information for investors in the online restaurant-reservation website who were not too impressed by the fact that OpenTable shaved off about $2 million from the higher side of its revenue estimate for the year -- with Hurricane Sandy blamed for half a million in lost revenues.

The tie-up with Gogobot grants the more than 2.5 million users registered on the social trip planner access to OpenTable's reservation services. We maintain a $52 price estimate for OpenTable's stock, about 20% above the current market price as we believe that there are several untapped potential revenue sources that OpenTable will realize in the years to come.

Often quoted as the next big thing in the online and social travel space, Gogobot has seen remarkable growth this year. The website grew its customer base from under a million users this May to more than 2.5 million within six months. And while the website is diversified in its offerings related to travel -- accommodation as well as dining -- restaurants undoubtedly are an important aspect of Gogobot's user experience. The tie-up with OpenTable is, hence, a positive step forward for both companies.

OpenTable Diners per North American RestaurantThe deal also comes at a good time because in recent quarters investors have been quite vocal about their view that OpenTable's growth engine has been running out of steam. A growing number of competitors in the U.S. and internationally -- primarily U.K. -- and an increasing expense tab has put OpenTable's margins under considerable pressure.

And while it must be noted that historically the third quarter is a slow period for the restaurant industry as a whole, investors are concerned about the number of diners seated by the company in North America, which was 2% lower this quarter than in the previous quarter (27.4 million in the third quarter vs. 28 million in the second).

OpenTable is also expecting a slow fourth quarter, evidenced by CFO Duncan Robertson's admission during the third quarter conference call that October saw a 1% year-on-year decline in diner count. Superstorm Sandy is only going to drag down the diner count further.

Tie-ups and partnerships like the recent one with Gogobot or the ones OpenTable has maintained for a while now with Google (GOOG), Menupages, TripAdvisor (TRIP), Yahoo (YHOO), Yelp (YELP) and Zagat among others are becoming increasingly important for OpenTable as they offer an inexpensive channel to bring in additional diners at a time when the company is battling spiraling costs.

Nov 19, 2012 11:51AM
I'm thinking Empty Stall would be better than Open Table?
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