Yelp Gets Deeper into Transactions with New Booking Partnerships

Yelp is continuing to move deeper into local transactions. Yesterday the company announced a number of new partnerships that allow for online booking through its mobile app. This expands the categories of businesses and activities that can be booked through Yelp.

The following were the new partners announced:

  • Vimbly
  • GolfNow
  • BloomNation
  • TableList
  • Vagaro

This is all happening via the Yelp Platform program. Other partners include EatStreet, LegalZoom, ChowNow,, Booker, Hipmunk and CellarPass. Yelp Platform launched in 2013.

I previously argued that transactions, in addition to being a potential revenue stream over time, help Yelp on several fronts. The company’s challenged relationship with many business owners could be “healed” in part by emulating Amazon,, OpenTable and others that solicit reviews from verified purchasers.

So after Yelp bookings the company can come back and ask those individuals to review the subject businesses, thereby solving a major problem and pain point for business owners: how to get Yelp reviews in an ethical way.

In an article at Marketing Land I discussed Yelp’s “white hat” trick for increasing review counts, use check-in incentives. Following a check-in Yelp will solicit a review from a signed-in user upon his or her return visit.

Yelp review solicitation

Transactions are also a way for Yelp to differentiate from rivals. Booking builds loyalty and repeat usage. The difference between a pure directory site that only allows lookups and one that has listings, reviews and transaction capabilities is competitively significant.

While friction and barriers remain to implementing booking and/or payments across local business categories it’s happening — with potential consequences for those (publishers and SMBs) that hesitate.

For all these reasons, we have two sessions at LSA 15 discussing mobile transactions and local commerce. Featuring, Yelp, Square, Mastercard and GoDaddy, they will explore the adoption and importance of online booking, payments and the corresponding back-end merchant implications:

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