What Is the Value of Yelp?

When I travel to different places, I tend to do research when I’m on the plane on my way to the destination.  People often ask me–do you use Yelp to plan your trips?

Yes and no.http://heelsfirsttravel.boardingarea.com/2013/05/25/foursquare-checkin-has-another-use/

I used to use FourSquare all the time before the huge Swam debacle.  I’m easing my way back in.

But I found that Trip Advisor tends to have a lot of users who don’t travel that much, so tend to comment on things that are the norm for a frequent traveler.  (For example, no sheets on the bed in Prague is pretty common, but will show up in hotel reviews).

But Yelp reviewers feel like they know too much in a way that irks me.

Here’s an example.

I was reading the review of a restaurant I love that is known for its wine.  A Yelp reviewer gave it one star.


restaurant restaurants restaurant review yelp

Because when the bottle of wine they wanted wasn’t available, the owner “tried to pawn off an old bottle of wine from his basement on us.”

In other words, he offered them an old vintage from the cellar on the house.

This person left many reviews for many wine bars, and even though their wine drinking was quite extensive, they seemed really uninformed.

Researching through what people say can help decipher what is actually important and who is a self-proclaimed wino who decides that a wine is bad because it is “old”.

I stopped using Yelp as much when I realized I was mostly meta reviewing.

When my green-cleaning company was dinged for not using harsh chemicals when they cleaned, I left a review asking the other poster if they ever hired a vegan catering company and demanded meat.

….not the point of Yelp.  So I got help* and didn’t log on as much.

*aka, my friends told me I should probably take a break.

What do you think of Yelp?  How do you research your destinations?


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. Yelp is way too subjective and offers worthless data overall. I do find TripAdvisor to be helpful, although it requires lots of time to search. The best source of info is word of mouth from family/friends who have travelled previously

  2. I don’t trust Yelp. They are known to filter reviews to suit the businesses that are members.

  3. I don’t use it to plan in advance but recently we were in Istanbul and used it to pick out some more reasonably-priced places for dinner since we were staying at the Ritz on points but didn’t want to pay their prices for food. We took our list of the concierge (who was probably in his 30s, younger than us) and he raised his eyebrows and asked where we got the list. He was just surprised, he said, because they were good restaurants, places he liked to go himself. That made us feel better about our choices and we had a couple of excellent meals!

    And though I’ve never been to Prague, I always mention it if the bed only has a duvet. I’m coming to expect it in Europe now but I leave the remark for two reasons: 1. as a warning to North Americans who are not familiar with this setup and 2. a comment to the hotels that a top sheet would be a wonderful thing, especially since they insist on keeping the rooms so warm. I grow tired of waking up in a sweat because the thermostat can’t always be lowered enough to keep me cool under the duvet.

  4. I don’t trust yelp. Reviews are not trust worthy. Trip advisor has good good feedback

  5. Yelp is crap. I find the reviews to be hugely biased and often uninformed. In my experience, Google reviews are better, but that is not saying much.

  6. I prefer TripAdvisor over Yelp. I find myself posting more to TA than Y, maybe because I end up on TA more in the first place.

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