Summer Fun at Yelp Spring Break - Growing Your Business One Yelp Elite at a Time

August 08, 2013

Any restaurant or retail establishment knows the power of Yelp. The review site lets diners discover great finds on a menu (or ones to stay away from), tips for when to get great deals on happy hour and more through a crowd-sourced rating system. A study last year shows that just a half-star rating increase leads to 19% more business. Read more here.

Yelp Growth Through Offline Experiences

What most may not know is that Yelp has a clever way of entering markets and finding the savviest and hippest consumers to thoroughly engage in their platform, while at the same time attracting local businesses to grasp the potential of proper presence on the site. Through a Community Manager in their major or growing markets, Yelp creates offline experiences that entice reviews and company participation. One such activation is the annual Yelp Spring Break, a call out to Yelpers from all across the country to join in one city for a romping good time experiencing the hospitality of a host city's finest bars, restaurants, hotels and more.

2013 Yelp Spring Break: New Orleans, LA

Yelp Spring Break 2013The second annual Yelp Spring Break (YSB) was held in May in NOLA, so a quick flight over seemed like a no-brainer. It was 4 days of many different Yelp-sponsored events to attend -- starting with a Yelp Like a Pirate Welcoming Party (costumes strongly encouraged) where we met fellow Yelpers from around the country, like Seattle, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Portland, Austin, New Orleans, Washington D.C., Orlando, San Diego and more. Imagine getting a group of people together who love to experience and share the best in their prospective cities. There were lots of discussions about where to go and what to do all across the United States, a true offline experience of Yelp's platform online. Read Yelp's blog about Yelp Spring Break here.

Why Yelp Spring Break Works

  1. Local businesses showcase what makes them unique. The event relied heavily on local businesses to buy in and defer costs while providing a great time to visiting Yelpers. For minor sampling costs or service discounts, these businesses had the chance to reach hundreds of admittedly active Yelpers that, if all went well, would favorably review them at the end of the weekend.
  2. Yelp builds their value proposition to community members. Yelp was able to engage consumers from across the U.S. by enticing them with the proverbial carrot of free samples of booze, food and entertainment at a cool destination. The site's target audience (hip young professionals) are thus encouraged to return home and keep Yelping to get next year's invite, creating more active communities.
  3. Yelp reinforces Yelping outside of your Hometown. Not that I think that Yelp's primary objective is to compete with TripAdvisor with these events, but it definitely left me thinking more and more about Yelping as a visitor in cities when I travel.

Here are some recommendations for ways to uncover Yelp's true marketing potential for your business.

As a business owner looking to harness the power of Yelp, I would recommend these four easy steps:

  1. Complete your company profile -- include business hours, contact information, business details, website and  photos.
  2. Ask your satisfied customers for reviews of their positive experiences. Remember, a half star can mean almost 20% more business!
  3. Post your special events to Yelp's event calendar -- These listings are free and give you an opportunity to reach active Yelpers with information about your special activations, from prix fixe dinners to gallery openings, races and more.
  4. Ask to participate in Yelp sponsored events -- Find out if your city has a Community Manager. Houston's is the lovely Farrah A. If there is a Community Manager, ask how your business can participate in an upcoming local event, either as a host venue or partner of some kind.

For more ways to expand your company's exposure online and generate more leads, contact Blue Sky Marketing. Take a look what some of our clients have to say about our work.

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