Yelp recently added two new features for businesses to let their customers know where they stand on COVID vaccine requirements.
Businesses can now add two attributes to their profile on Yelp:
- “Proof of vaccination required”
- “All staff fully vaccinated”
As a crowd-sourced local business review and social networking site, Yelp has the infrastructure to help businesses clarify the uncertainty communities are experiencing about COVID-19 vaccinations. And this is what the company is doing so consumers can stay updated on businesses’ health and safety precautions.
COVID Vaccine Requirements
With these attributes in place, users can easily see which of them is being implemented by the business. And this information will allow the community to make informed decisions about the businesses they frequent. However, it is not as simple as placing these attributes to inform your customers.
While this is a great idea, according to Yelp businesses have been experiencing some backlash for their vaccine policies. And to that end Yelp is also proactively monitoring the pages of businesses that activate these attributes. This will ensure Yelp maintains the integrity and quality of the content on its platform.
The measures Yelp is taking to maintain this integrity come after the company saw a rise in reviews focused on people’s stance on COVID vaccinations rather than their actual experience with the business. Through its Consumer Alerts program, Yelp places Unusual Activity Alerts on its pages when it uncovers an influx of activity. This is in response to a business getting attention from the public because of its stance on COVID health and safety practices. The attention also includes requiring vaccinations for employees and/or customers.
Since January 2021, Yelp says it has placed more than 100 Unusual Activity Alerts on Yelp pages. The result is the removal of nearly 4,500 reviews for violating its content policies.
Protecting Businesses from Review Bombing
If you are not aware, review bombing is the practice of leaving negative reviews by a group of people or a person with multiple accounts about a product or service. Suffice it to say, this can have a detrimental effect on small businesses that can ill afford to lose any customers.
According to Yelp, it has seen an increase in review bombing since the start of the pandemic around the health and safety precautions businesses implement.
To help in this effort, Yelp is putting protective measures in place to proactively safeguard small businesses from reviews that primarily criticize the COVID health and safety measures they enforce. In 2021 alone, Yelp has removed nearly 8,000 reviews for violating these guidelines.
If you see a review that “represents an extraordinary circumstance (e.g. COVID-19, media-fueled)” you can report it. Yelp then investigates the report with one of its User Operations team members. And if the review is in violation of the policies, it removes it from the platform.
Adding the COVID Vaccine Attributes on Your Yelp Page
Yelp says only you can add the “Proof of vaccination required” and “All staff fully vaccinated” attributes to your page.
If you want to add them, here is how to do it.
- Log into your Yelp for Business account
- Go to the Business Information section
- Click Add (or Edit if you have existing content here) next to “Amenities and more”
- Click Yes next to the attribute you’d like to turn on
- Save Changes
If your business also requires masks from customers and staff you can activate “Masks required” and “Staff wears masks” attributes.