October 23, 2014
Yelp has partnered with Hipmunk to integrate hotel bookings into its business review platform. Yelp already offers users a way to purchase from other businesses but this is the first time it is doing so with hotel bookings. The motive behind the initiative is to enable users to make hotel bookings immediately after going through reviews. This enables Yelp to engage customers within the platform itself.
The Yelp platform now features a Reserve a Room button on the hotel review pages, supported in the backend by Hipmunk. Users can select hotel rooms and would be redirected to a booking page for completing the transaction. Hipmunk would then send the confirmation mail to the booker. There is no clarification on whether Hipmunk will remain as Yelp’s sole hotel booking partner.
Yelp had rolled out the ability to book services, via its platform, over a year ago. Businesses get the option to offer discounts for booking and payments via Yelp platform. Yelp’s mobile platform has been a boon to its review business. Mobile ad sales has helped generate revenues in $100 million range. Yelp is looking at other areas for growth such booking for concerts, movies, etc. Yelp is also adding new food delivery partners.
Approximately 28,000 businesses in all major US markets are available for booking on Yelp Platform today. With approximately 250,000 transactions happening through Yelp Platform in Q3 2014 (and more than 50% of those on mobile), it’s clear that Yelp provides the convenience of booking and purchase options online. The best part is that by making it easier for consumers to spend money at local businesses, those businesses are reaping the benefits, too.
Yelp goes to extraordinary lengths in an effort to protect consumers from fake reviews. Yelp’s recommendation software is at the centre of operations and highlights only those reviews that are going to be most helpful and reliable for consumers. In addition, Yelp employs a team of investigators who track down the most egregious offenders. Yelp shares its findings with consumers on Yelp platform through Consumer Alerts program, which allows consumers on Yelp to make more informed decisions about where to spend their hard earned money.