Yelp took another step in its expansion into the online booking arena this morning, with the announcement that it would be adding five new platform partners to its roster. By partnering with Whittl, TicketNetwork, delivery.com for laundry, Peek and foodjunky, Yelp is increasing the number of local businesses that consumers can book appointments and services with online.
This latest announcement is another step in Yelp’s movement from review website to “holistic service” for both small and mid-size businesses and individual consumers, which Chad Richard, Yelp’s senior vice president of business and corporate development, chatted with Street Fight about last month. Richard will be speaking in depth about the new partnerships at Street Fight Summit West in San Francisco tomorrow.
As of this morning, consumers who run searches on Yelp will see “Book Online” buttons next to participating businesses. Searches can also be filtered by places that take online bookings in selected categories, such as salons or restaurants. This feature isn’t exactly new, but Yelp says that adding additional integrated partners greatly increases the number of merchants that can generate business through the site. According to Yelp, more than 100,000 local businesses can now accept bookings and services through the platform.
“People are using Yelp because they want to buy something from these local businesses,” Richard said. “We have made it easy to order, book and buy right from the Yelp App. People love that convenience. Providing direct sales and bookings is just another way Yelp is helping small businesses attract and retain customers, too.”
Adding platform partners with specialized niches means Yelp is going beyond what most people consider when they think of traditional booking and scheduling software. For example, consumers can now schedule their laundry pickup or delivery, they can book travel activities or lessons, and they can purchase tickets to concerts. The new foodjunky partnership also offers another way for consumers to order food delivery directly from a restaurant’s Yelp page.
“We’re trying to cover all common needs for people’s daily lives as well as fun entertainment and activities,” Richard said.
Although booking through Whittl, TicketNetwork and delivery.com for laundry went live on Yelp this morning, the company’s partnerships with Peek and foodjunky are rolling out in the “next few weeks.” Yelp Platform launched in 2013, and since then it has grown to include more than 20 integrated partners, including the latest additions.
“Working with partners allows us to expand into new verticals faster and brings the huge benefit of Yelp’s millions of monthly visitors driving revenue to each partner’s clients,” said Richard. “It’s good for Yelp, our partners, local businesses and consumers.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.