Meetings Memo: Guide and Seek

Yelp offers help to San Diego meeting attendees.

While attendees are in town for a conference, they don’t just want to learn; they also want to get out and explore all the host city has to offer.

But they also want to know the best places to go, which is why the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) partnered with online review site Yelp during its June 2017 International Convention in San Diego.

Using local contributors, Yelp produced a 20-page guidebook on the city’s top food, drink, and entertainment options, which was inserted in 16,000 attendee bags. Picks were organized into eight categories, including best spots for a quick breakfast, favorite local craft brews, and where to dine if attendees were looking for a view.

Even better: Yelp not only provided the booklet, but also designed it free of charge. BIO only had to cover printing costs.

Erin Lee, managing director of marketing and event technology for BIO, says the idea originated in a brainstorming session for BIO 2017’s social media campaign. Wondering if Yelp would help create a “Best of San Diego” guide, BIO reached out to the company’s San Diego marketing and community director about working together. While Yelp liked the idea, what really convinced them was Lee sharing the convention’s attendee profile and economic impact.

“We have high-level business-development executives and attendees from 72 countries,” Lee says. “Once I told Yelp that they were big spenders, they were excited.”

The product was so popular that BIO is considering partnering with Yelp for its 2018 International Convention in Boston, although the decision depends on the company’s local community director.

“I definitely want to do it again,” Lee says. “We’re focused on our attendees and customers, and products like this really have a difference.”

(adamkaz/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images)

Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

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