J.R. Tolkien

"Not all those who wander are lost." - J.R. Tolkien

Friday, August 29, 2014

Yelp Elite – My gateway to free events and new experiences

So, you want to learn how to get free cool free swags, attend new free events every month, and eat for free at a restaurant? My secret: Become a Yelp Elite. ( I promise it's not as pretentious as it sounds)

You’ve probably hear or use a little something call Yelp.  It’s a site/app that allows users to share photos, post reviews, leave tips for local businesses, restaurants, etc.  More than likely, you’ve probably look at the reviews on Yelp before making a decision on where to dine.

Some people really hate it, commonly citing that biased and hateful reviews ruin businesses.  Sure, there are some really unfriendly condescending Yelpers out there that gave all other Yelpers a bad name but overall most yelpers are fair and conscientious, leaving fair reviews and helpful tips.

I can’t speak for others, but as a Yelper I want to provide people with helpful information to make their dining experience out a little better. I don’t judge a restaurant solely on its service, but the overall experience.  Rather than slamming a small business, I focus more on reviewing restaurants that are good. When I write bad reviews, I provide my reasoning but it’s up to you to make your own judgment.

What does it mean to be Yelp Elite?

Free Foods: As a Yelp Elite, you get to attend a free event every month with your +1 (anyone you choose).  These events are scheduled and planned by the Yelp Community Manager, a Yelp employee.  If it’s a restaurant sponsoring the event, you’ll get free food, sometimes a full meal, other times appetizers.  It’s a great way to try food from new restaurants you’ve never been to or try a new dish at a local favorite. Since becoming Elite a year ago, I’ve been to Bourbon Bistro, Meridian Café, Marketplace Restaurant, Mitchell Seafood Market, El Camino (next week), Earth’s Friend Café, and the Sweet and Savory Food Truck.

Food galore at Marketplace Restaurant
Free Events: Some events are activities sponsored by local venues, we’ve been to a painting and wine class at Pinot's Pallette, a play at Actor’s Theater, Bourbon tasting at Bourbon Barrels Foods, a make-up and hair session at Bennie’s and Friends.  Some are unique experiences in itself, like an indoor picnic and Shakespeare in Central Park or a trip to a magic shop (Alchemy).  Almost always, there’s free alcohol and drinks involved.
Unique events around town
Free Giveaways: Yelp Elite are also eligible for some great giveaways.  I’ve won the Humana Festival of Plays Season Pass, tickets to the opening of Mercury Ball Room, dinner and wine pairing at Mitchell’s, tickets to Abbey Road on the River, etc.  You also get some cool free merchandise!
California Uncorked at Mitchell's Fish Market

New Friends and Experiences: The best part for me about being Yelp Elite is that it introduces me to new experiences and people I would not otherwise meet.

How do you become Yelp Elite?

Here’s the official guide from the Yelp website.  But basically this is what you need:
  • Create a yelp profile, using your real name and real photo
  • Start writing reviews, good reviews should be informative and more than a couple of sentences
  • Post photos and leave tips.  Over all, show that you’re actively involved
  • Nominate yourself or have a friend nominate you for Yelp Elite.  Explain why you would make a good Yelp Elite. There’s no set number of reviews you need to have before you qualify, there are people who are Yelp Elite with only 20 reviews.

If that’s too much work, find a friend who’s Yelp Elite and tag along.  This strategy works out really well for my husband!