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Do You Yelp?

If you do, you’re not alone. Worldwide, there are over 50 million businesses with a Yelp presence and over 92 percent of consumers read online reviews. You know the old saying, the best form of advertising is word-of-mouth? Well as it turns out, 80 percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations.   

To make matters even more relevant, a mere one-star rating decrease on Yelp translates to a 5-9 percent decrease in sales, according to Harvard Business School. That’s powerful stuff! This reminds me of an experience when the idea that Common Sense is Not So Common happened right in front of me.

I was at a hotel, which shall remain nameless. Because this Money-Making Machine is brought to you courtesy of an experience at this particular hotel, I’m not going to mention their name. But I will mention this hotel claims to be the Best In The West.

I checked into this hotel for a three-night stay. Since I drove there, I had to register the rental car with the hotel, and I was assigned a parking spot. In order to do so, I had to fill out an official form. I asked the hotel representative, is this truly necessary? “Well, yes, it is necessary, sir,” he told me.

Being that it was a rental car, naturally I did not know the required details, such as the license plate number. Make, model, year? I couldn’t be sure. So, I left the hotel checkout counter to retrieve the information. I returned to the front desk to complete my check-in and completed the vehicle parking spot registration.

Two-days later, I needed to use the car for a business meeting. When I arrived at the assigned parking spot, I discovered the car was gone. Did my brain lapse? What happened? Turns out, the car had been towed by the hotel.

According to the front desk, it was my mistake. “The computer says you are only with us for one night, Mr. Nicholson, not three.”

Not only that, but the hotel refused to take me to the towed car so I could retrieve it, and it would have taken eight hours to have it returned. Since I had to be at a meeting within a reasonable amount of time, the best option was to Uber to the Wrecker Tow Place. At my own expense.

On day three upon checkout, the hotel representative handed me a Yelp card and said, “please go online and rate us on Yelp.”

I said, “I think I will.” And I winked and smiled.

The hotel representative may have been doing what he was trained to do, which was to invite guests to rate the Best Hotel In The West on Yelp. But could this be one of those times where the procedure should have been abandoned?

Most Likely, YES (or should I say, YELP).

If your choice is to encourage client reviews on Yelp, you’ll see the best results if you also train on when NOT to Yelp. After all, there are 138 million consumers visiting Yelp each month because they trust the content. What do your reviews reveal?

Flip it this way: When you have a mere one-star rating increase on Yelp, that translates to a 5-9 percent increase in sales. Once you start increasing your positive reviews, you’ll become a true Money-Making Machine.


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