Anyone in the accommodation business knows that TripAdvisor is a vital business listing if you want to get discovered, reviewed, and recommended. However, there’s another review site that most hoteliers miss: Yelp. While it has a well-established reputation for restaurants, Yelp has recently emerged as a powerful tool in the hands of those in the accommodation industry. Here’s how to take advantage of this helpful site and make your listing stand out.
Claim your listing
If you’ve been in business for a decent amount of time, you may find that there is already a Yelp page for your property. Once you find it, you can claim the listing by entering the required information and fulfilling the verification requirements to confirm that you are the owner or manager of the establishment. After that, you can start filling in the listing page! Include as much information as possible in order to give customers a good idea of what you’re offering; include a link to your website, your opening and closing hours, your phone number, and address.
Create a call to action
As of fall 2014, Yelp allows hotel pages to include a “Book Now” or “See Rates” call to action button. These can link to your website’s booking form (you don’t need to allow bookings directly via Yelp), making it incredibly easy for customers to convert if they like what they see. Go to https://biz.yelp.com/call_to_action/ to begin the process of including the button; it takes 2-3 days to approve, so get on it right away.
Use photos to your advantage
Booking a hotel or other accommodation is a bit of a leap of faith; customers are putting their safety and comfort into your hands. As a result, it’s not surprising that a majority of customers resist booking a room “blind”, so to speak; they want to see what the rooms look like and get a feel for the space in order to assess if it will work for them. So if you have good photos of your rooms/accommodations—and you should—then use them on Yelp to create a beautiful gallery. Show off what your hotel can offer and you’ll put a lot of customers’ minds at ease.
Don’t forget about features
On Yelp, customers can filter hotels by a variety of features in order to find exactly what they want. This includes wifi, parking, complimentary meals, pet allowances, and smoking areas. Make sure you fill in as many of these features as you can when creating your business listing, so that you won’t get left out of the search results. If you’ve got some great amenities, don’t be afraid to put them front and center.
Engage with reviewers
As with TripAdvisor ratings, customer reviews are a significant aspect of being on Yelp—so don’t shy away from reviews. Encourage your guests to check in on Yelp when they arrive, and ask them to write reviews if they enjoyed their stay. Once those reviews start to show up, don’t just let them sit on your listing. If a customer leaves a positive comment, thank them for their patronage; if they make a complaint, be compassionate and take proactive steps to resolve the issue. Resist the urge to take things personally or become defensive; your reputation will improve significantly if you show that you can admit to mistakes and are willing to work to find a solution.