Yelp logoI recently read the story “You’ve Been Yelped” in February’s issue of Inc. magazine and it prompted me to get back to writing my Social Networks for Ski Resorts series that I’ve been neglecting.The article does point out some of the short comings of a user review site like Yelp, but it also nails the benefits of the network for a business that takes advantage of the tools that Yelp provides for business owners.

If you’re not aware of what Yelp is, it’s a social review site that has a core of active members that are typically quite frank, or perhaps brutal, when it comes to reviewing all sorts of local services. The nice thing is that once you ‘claim’ your business listing, you get the ability to reply to reviews either publicly or via a private message to the reviewer. Yelp even provides a great Business Owner’s Guide that will help an owner or manager respond appropriately to reviews. This is quite important because as the “You’ve Been Yelped” article describes, Yelp contributors can be quite opinionated and if they are messaged in a way that they feel is not appropriate, they are more than likely to respond publicly and vociferously. Resorts can also post additional information including photos to their profiles which once created will give you measurement of page visits and the option to post “offers and announcements” in addition to the  opportunity to create a Yelp ad.

So cutting to the chase, which ski resorts do I think are using Yelp well? Easy answer, not many at all. As a matter of fact, in a quick survey of ski resorts on Yelp I found that only my friend Milena Regos at Diamond Peak was publicly responding to user reviews (I haven’t even done any as of yet), and only a few resorts, mostly in the Tahoe area had posted “offers” to their Yelp profiles. I’m sure there are more ski resorts that are engaging with their customers on Yelp, I just haven’t been able to find them. If you know of some, please let me know in the comments section.