Yikes! What Will Yelp Think of Next?

yelp connect and casino reputation management

As if casino marketers and operators didn’t have enough on their plates trying to keep up with all the new online information, social and review channels, it seems as if these mediums keep adding features that make our jobs even more complex. A case in point is Yelp, which recently added a paid service called Yelp Connect. This service is geared for businesses and could be helpful for casinos in attracting new customers and keeping current restaurant customers engaged.

So, what is Yelp Connect?

Yelp Connect “allows businesses to tell their unique story and share important updates or news directly on their Yelp business page. Your Yelp Connect posts will appear to all Yelpers on your business page, and be promoted to your followers in emails and elsewhere in Yelp’s app,” according to its website.

According to Devon Wright, Yelp’s General Manager of Restaurant Marketplaces, with Yelp Connect, restaurants will be able to post updates about recent additions to the menu, happy hour specials and upcoming events. These updates are then shown on the Yelp homepage, in a weekly email, and on the restaurant’s profile page.

Consumers, meanwhile, can follow restaurants to see these updates, but Yelp also shows them to users who have indicated interest in a restaurant by making a reservation, joining its waitlist or bookmarking its profile. Wright describes this as part of a broader evolution for Yelp, where “you don’t just want to discover a great restaurant; you want to transact with that restaurant.” To realize this, the company has added features like reservations, with Connect serving as “the final piece of that journey,” allowing restaurants to continue reaching out to consumers after their visit.

Yelp and Casino Reputation Management

Why is it so important for casinos to understand and maximize products and services like Yelp? Well, it’s one of today’s most popular online review sites, with the power to influence purchase decisions and consumer behavior. Since Yelp was founded in 2004, it has become one of the top digital platforms for businesses looking to improve their online reputation, enhance their search engine visibility, engage with potential and existing customers, and drive more people to their business locations.

A whopping 47% of consumers say they check Yelp reviews. So, if your casino is reaching out for new customers, you can be sure that many of them are going to be checking you out on Yelp first. A study by UC Berkeley economists found that on a scale of 1 to 5, a half-star rating increase on Yelp translates into a 19 percent greater likelihood that a restaurant’s seats will be full during peak dining times. And, according to a Harvard Business School study, a one-star decrease in a restaurant’s overall Yelp rating could lead to a 5 percent loss in revenue.

So, as Yelp adds more features that consumers use and rely on, you’ll need to stay abreast of these changes so that you’re competitive at every level.

Do you need a marketing checkup to make sure you’re covering all of your bases for digital marketing? Are you efficiently handling your casino reputation management? Do your current ratings for your hotel and restaurants deserve a second look? We can help. Contact Amy Hergenrother today at 775-329-7864 or [email protected] for all of your marketing, research and hospitality needs.

Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D.