By Nic Wilson Contributing Writer
We’ve all been there before: you’re traveling, and it’s dinner time. Someone asks “where are we eating tonight?”, but nobody knows; it’s a new city. How do you decide? How will anyone make a decision if they don’t know what the locals think? Of course the answer to this problem is Yelp: a website designed for customers to review and rate businesses locally.
Yelp can be an amazing tool for consumers to get a locals perspective on nearby restaurants and businesses, but how trustworthy are the star ratings, and should businesses care more about their Yelp reviews?
According to Socratic Technologies, 32% of travelers will check yelp reviews for restaurants before entering, and over 50% of travelers who check Yelp trust the reviews posted there.
“Yelp is a double edged sword,” self-proclaimed Yelp expert Kevan Coyle said. “Sometimes you get detailed, helpful reviews but like half the time you can tell it’s just an upset customer being dramatic.”
As a general rule, most Yelp users seem to agree that multiple reviews with the same complaints or praises tend to be true. However, if a sudden influx of unanimously negative reviews appear, those reviews are not to be trusted, as they may be from one particularly disgruntled individual.
Aside from those rare cases, most users seem to trust the reviews they read on Yelp, and in the end we can trust democracy will do its work. As more and more users review the business they visit, the good business will rise in ratings, and the bad ones will fall.
As for business owners, Yelp and similar services such as TripAdvisor should be a priority. If you let your star ratings fall, your business could directly suffer. 38% of users who visit Yelp.com report that visiting the website leads to a purchase if reviews are good, according to Nielsen.
hose who don’t use it, but believe it or not, the service plays a vital role in the success of any local small business. The user base is ginormous, and only getting bigger by the day. In 2016, the app had around 15 million daily users, but that number has since grown to 37 million in 2019, according to Yelp.
The bottom line is that Yelp can be misleading in rare cases, but its reviews are generally accurate and its impact is huge. Local business owners who aren’t paying attention to their Yelp reviews are in trouble and need to catch up before they fall behind