Locu, a company that allows small businesses to update and distribute their information across the web, has announced a new partnership with local reviews and discovery service Yelp. The partnership, which follows previous deals with OpenTable and CitySearch, means that Locu’s 15,000 local merchant customers will be able to distribute their location, coordinates, hours, and menus to Yelp with real-time updates.
The company’s CEO Rene Reinsberg told Street Fight that adding Yelp is another step toward becoming a one-stop information-updating platform for merchants.
“A lot of restaurants that we talked to had a really difficult time to update their information across the web,” Reinsberg said. “Really on all the major discovery apps and directories. And oftentimes they weren’t really even able to push their information like daily specials or their menu data out onto the web.” Reinsburg says the company hopes to be the “hub” for distribution of information, which he thinks would be “of tremendous value for local businsses.”
With the addition of Yelp, Locu is continuing to build up its API’s arsenal, so that it can potentially go head-to-head with other listings-updating services like UBL, SinglePlatform and Yext, which also provide data updating services for SMBs and other businesses with a local presence.
“If you look at historically how data in the local space is being distributed, oftentimes it’s not in real-time at all, it’s weekly, monthly updates,” Reinsburg said. By reducing or eliminating this lag time in distribution, he believes that it will open more opportunities for businesses to update to sites all across the Web with daily specials, and other more time-sensitive information.
Reinsburg said the partnership is part of Locu’s plan to “actively expand” beyond just menu platforms into general business data: “What we’ve seen is a lot of other businesses, and in particular in the personal care vertical … they started signing up for the merchant product through locu.com,” Reinsburg said. “So we really started thinking about these other verticals.”
While Yelp already links to a business’s website, which will often have a menu or any necessary info, Reinsburg said that Locu’s product is more SEO-friendly and mobile optimized for an overall better experience: “Having the menu content directly on the site (like Yelp) makes it more accessible to search,” he said.
This partnership could prove valuable for both Yelp and local businesses: A recent survey showed that 70 percent of searchers find a restaurant’s menu to be important and 62 percent are less likely to choose a a restaurant if there is not a menu.
“With each partnership we’re adding more context, we’re adding more value,” said Reinsburg.
Isa Jones is an editorial assistant at Street Fight.