Why Yelp! is Great For Travelers
That my friends, was one delicious sandwich; Grilled cheese with Tomato and Bacon. I enjoyed it street-side with a glass of wine at Big Pink in Miami. And I never would have found it, had it not have been for Yelp.
What is Yelp?
Yelp is an online community that reviews restaurants, shops, attractions and other businesses in your hometown and around the world. Users (like you and I) can log on online, search for a place of interest and learn what others thought about it. It’s a bit like trip advisor, but with a much, broader focus.
You can download an app for your smartphone, and like foursquare, check-in to a place, earn discounts from local merchants (like the free spring rolls I had this weekend from Hawker’s Asian Street Fair in Orlando) and leave tips and reviews to friends and future customers.
But for travelers (and where trip advisor fails), Yelp’s usefulness is much greater than that.
Yelp Community Managers
The Yelp homepage is divided into neighborhoods around the world. These destinations are often managed by real people (imagine that, real people in a digital world). Known as community managers, they go out into the community, get people excited about Yelp and encourage businesses to sign onboard. And it’s these community managers who really make the difference and become a traveler’s best friend.
Here in Orlando, the Yelp Community Manager is Colleen Burns. She’s a boat load of fun, savvy with social media (of course) and very engaged in the Yelp Community. And whenever I’m in need of a suggestion for a restaurant or drink, she’s always on the spot with the latest, hippest place in town.
Whenever I travel to a new destination, I often tweet the Yelp Community Manager in that town. They know the city better than anyone else and can offer great suggestions for breakfast, lunch or dinner.. It was Yelp Miami that helped me to find Big Pink, a reasonably-priced diner in an otherwise expensive city and Yelp Las Vegas that scored me a delicious cornbeef on rye sandwich in the Mirage Hotel.
I’ll send them a quick note with the parameters of my restaurant (price, location, cuisine, etc.) and within minutes, I’ve got a list of a half a dozen recommendations, saving me tons of search time on the internet (or in the Yelp directory itself). Sometimes you want an answer fast and that’s exactly what they provide. Additionally, you get some great, local, opinions instead of the stock answer your hotel front desk would provide.
I love the Yelp Community Managers. They’ve never steered me wrong.
Another great responsibility of the Yelp Community Managers are their Yelp Events. They regularly host special events at bars and restaurants. They give out awesome door prizes (like restaurant gift certificates and massage coupons) and have all sorts of free SWAG. The Yelp Chap Stick is the absolute best I’ve ever had. It tastes like Fruity Pebbles!
So if you’re not traveling often, it’s worth the investment to engage with your local Yelp contact to get the invitations to the latest goings on around town.
If you’re not yelping, you’re missing out.
Do you use Yelp? What do you think about it? Share by commenting.
I’ll see you out there…!