Here is TheArtofOri, a traveler on Twitter, asking for information about a local coffee shop:
And here is what he decides to do when the right folks who could give him an answer don’t happen to see his tweet, or see it but don’t have the information needed:
He goes to the community review site Yelp to find answers from other travelers.
Do your CVB, DMO and Chamber of Commerce members know about Yelp, or are they “too busy” for such things? Naturally, we can’t be everywhere all the time, but we need to be in the important places.
If your visitors are looking for information on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, it does your members no favors to ignore that and hope it will go away.
Hmmm, I sense another section being added to our Tourism Currents lessons about online presence….
Just because some retard ( and there are a lot of them on FREE sites like Yelp ) didn’t like something about a place, business or a product, I am not going to make my decisions based on that.
As a business owner I will listen to negative feedback, and if possible will try to improve my service/business/product, but let’s face it, there are a lot of miserable, unhappy people with a lot of free time on their hands who have nothing else to do but bitch.
BTW, about Yelp in particular – “Yelp Sued for Extortion—Again” – http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2010/03/yelp-sued-for-extortionagain.html
For local businesses, I highly recommend getting on as many review sites as possible, as well as Google Maps, and making sure that your website is submitted to all the search engines, and optimized for your keywords. In today’s case: San Diego Coffee House, San Diego Internet Cafe. San Diego 24/7 coffee. Those are just some examples, and the more “Long-tail” (specific) you can make it, the more people will find you. You can also make multiple pages, specializing in each keyword. If you have a good coffee place, people will recommend you. Being on 4Square and Gowalla is the latest hip thing. Living room is going to get a bad review on Yelp from me, Lestats will get a great review. The other thing– use TweetDeck or whatever twitter app you use, to monitor keywords– so when I asked about coffee in or near La Jolla, someone from a coffee place should’ve gotten an SMS that someone is asking about their keyword, and tweeted back that I should go to their place. For examples of amazing social-media interaction, study Zappos (I’ve couchsurfed with their CEO, and got an amazing tour of the place / people).
When I use review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, reviews on Amazon, etc., I take both the superlatives and the negatives with a grain of salt. Throw out the top and bottom and the truth’s usually in the middle. The “retards” and I do USE them, though, which is the bottom line. Yelp needs to get its act together – agreed – on the business side of the house.
Business owners can’t jump through their grommet at every review, of course, but they do need to pay attention (and be ready to admit error when the “miserable, unhappy people” are correct in their assessments.)
I prefer to leave a positive review, or tweet a positive comment, or send a fun photo to my Facebook page – businesses should encourage me to do that where possible, and then it would be nice if they’d respond when I do.