How to Yelp: A Guide for Tour Operators & Activity Providers

How to Yelp: A Guide for Tour Operators & Activity Providers

Boasting 135 million monthly visitors, Yelp is a highly popular online review site for local businesses of all kinds, including tours and activities.

TourismTiger reports that

  • The map information on iPhones and iPads come from Yelp (ie. Apple Maps);
  • 35% of people searching on Yelp will make a visit to a business within the next 24 hours; and,
  • The average business on Yelp sees an increase of $8000.

So Yelp is certainly worth a shot. Tour operators (especially American ones) need to start leveraging it.

Is Yelp relevant for your tours & activities in your location?

The main objection we hear about Yelp is ‘it’s not popular in my destination’ or ‘it’s only good for restaurants’. This may have once been true, but now…

Yelp is global.

It’s true that Yelp is most popular in America, but it is quickly gaining traction in the travel industry around the globe.

Scroll to the bottom of this page to see if Yelp is up and running in your country. If it is, do a quick search for tours in your location and see what comes up.

Here’s what a search for “tours” in Sydney pulls up.


Yelp works for tours and activities.

Non restaurants make up over 80% of Yelp listings.


Tours and activities are very diverse and can fall into any of Yelp’s other categories (eg. shopping tours would fall into ‘shopping’, a historic museum tour would fall into ‘arts, entertainment, and health’, and so on).

How can you get started with Yelp?

1) Make sure your business isn’t already listed on Yelp.

Go to Claim and verify your account.

2) Set up your profile

Your profile needs to look complete.

Take a look at ziplining provider Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon’s profile:


TourismTiger reports recommends you:

  • Pick the correct category (tours/bike rentals/ethnic food/wine tours/transport/boat charters).
  • Add at least 20 high quality photos (listings with 1 photo get 2.5x more time per user).
  • Sell vouchers and gift certificates (it costs 30% commission on deals and 10% on gifts, but this is not yet available in all countries).

Your profile makes you look active and legitimate. Make sure all of the information is up to date – especially your operating hours.

With 65% of searches being made via mobile, you can bet that Yelpers need this kind of information on the go.

3) Continuously accumulate reviews

Now that you have your Yelp ready for business, it’s time to build up legitimate reviews!

Get reviews.

After your tour, ask customers to check in and leave you reviews in person. Then, ask for reviews in your automated post-tour email.

You can also add a Yelp widget to your website to let people know you’re on there and show off your reviews.

Respond to reviews.

Once in a while, you may encounter negative reviews. Resist the urge to defend or attack!

LocalVox reports that 33% of negative reviews turn positive when you respond to them. Be courteous and respectful at all times. Show you understand and want to amend the situation.

Here’s a good graphic from TripAdvisor that gives you some guidelines for how to respond to negative reviews:

We also have a blog post about complaints handling if you would like to learn more about that.

Get around the review filter.

Yelp works hard to make sure all online reviews are genuine. As such, they have a filter which removes less credible posts from your page.

FitSmallBusiness reports that the following things trigger the filter:

  • The reviewer has only written 1 review.
  • The reviewer doesn’t have complete profile information.
  • The reviews are always strongly slanted (positively and negatively).
  • The reviews are always short and lack details.
  • The reviews are being made from a location other than where the business is located.

TourismTiger recommends that you follow your reviewers back to help get around this filter.

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