5 Creative Ways to Boost Your Restaurant’s Yelp Reputation
- Posted by Todd A. Vines
- On October 3, 2018
In business, reputation is everything.
When it comes to dining, in particular, how the community at large perceives an establishment may matter more than the actual quality of the food or service, as one’s reputation has the power to drive (or dissuade) new business.
In the modern digital era, people have the tools to offer feedback online instantly, and most all establishments are being talked about in forums and on rating sites, whether they’re aware of the conversations or not. Of all the rating and review sites in existence, none may effect the reputation of a restaurant more than Yelp. Dining venues that are “on site” or otherwise associated with a hotel or resort are no exception.
The crowd-sourced review forum boasts 146 million unique users each month, and is accessible in 15 languages. Many restauranteurs have even found their Google rating to be less influential than the reviews, comments, pictures and overall rating associated with their Yelp profile.
Smaller hotels with a modest online presence sometime struggle to identify fresh tactics that grow positive Yelp reviews for their outlets. Savvy management teams understand it starts with an exceptional experience, but it takes more to motivate guests to share their experience online.
Here are five creative ways to inspire guests to leave a glowing Yelp review.
Incorporate QR Codes into Menus, Checks
Thought Quick Response (QR) codes were dead?
While not as widely used as a marketing tool recently as they had been earlier in the decade, they’re still a relevant vehicle for getting people to act. In fact, the number of households scanning codes is actually on the rise, and Apple recently added native QR code scanning to its Camera app.
QR codes can be customized to do a great many things, including drive diners directly to a restaurant’s Yelp review page. Consider printing such a code on the restaurant’s desert menu, separate “thank you” card from the management, or even a diner’s receipt, and include a friendly request for ratings and feedback.
Send a “Thank You”
Many restaurants have technology that captures email addresses, either though the reservation process, or “wait list” at the door, or via online takeout/delivery applications.
When possible, set up an automated email action to deliver a “thank you for dining with us” message the day after a guest dines. In addition to expressing gratitude and extending an invite to return, it can also include a link to the establishment’s Yelp page and a request for ratings and feedback.
Offer Incentives for Selfies
The one thing people enjoy more than sharing enthusiastic food reviews is attaching pictures of the meals they enjoyed.
The trend of “food selfies” isn’t going anywhere. One recent report noted as much as 69% of millennials take a photo or video of their meal before eating. Marketers may as well leverage the trend.
If it’s in line with your overall strategy, consider offering a one-time discount, free dessert or the like to any table that posts a food selfie to your Yelp page. They may or may not take the additional step of rating their experience, but they’ll already have the app or website open, and considering the restaurant’s kind gesture, they may well proceed to review their experience.
Link Your Yelp and Twitter Profiles
Twitter is another great platform for sharing those food selfies.
You can now use Yelp geotags to tweet about your own venue and showcase reviews directly. This means that you can directly integrate your Yelp presence into your Twitter social media marketing campaign. When someone reviews you on Yelp, reward them by sharing via Twitter, and when you post on Twitter, use your venue’s Yelp geotag to drive traffic back to the review site.
While it may seem obvious to task front-of-house staff with inviting guests to rate and review on Yelp, is it something the wait staff, hosts/hostesses, sommelier and other team members team actively do?
“If you enjoyed your meal, one of the best things you can do for us is to share your experience online.”
It doesn’t get any cheaper or less tech dependent than a quick verbal request. Bartenders and wait staff in particular are skilled with communicating ideas quickly, efficiently and with a friendly demeanor.
If you’re set up to send the aforementioned “thank you” email, and have included a QR code on the receipt, you’ve not got a three-pronged approach likely to yield immediate results.
The most well-reviewed establishments on Yelp all have certain things in common; they’ve learned to be subtle and charming in their pursuit of reviews, they offer direct and easy access to review sites, and they find ways to be more creative than their competitors in convincing diners to post.
Cultivating positive Yelp reviews isn’t effortless, but it pays dividends, and is one of the most effective ways to polish your eateries’ reputation.
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