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Yelp Maui official launch party

Yelp Maui has officially landed on the Valley Isle. I know you’re probably thinking to yourself, but Yelp has always been here and I use the app all the time, what does this mean? I asked myself that same question and got the answers for you.

A personalized Yelp Maui base, #YelpMaui @YelpMaui, now has the attention it deserves when it comes to building a local neighborhood of Yelpers and growing the interaction between businesses and residents. “I know a lot of people on Maui already use the Yelp app to find where to eat, find their dentist , their plumber, my hope is more people will write reviews of their favorite local businesses because that’s what makes Yelp a really great place to visit,” Yelp senior community director Emi Hart said. The mobile app known for its user-based reviews and recommendations is aimed at encouraging locals to share their insider tips on where to go and what to do.

I know some business owners can become frustrated with Yelp reviews they receive, but with an actual community ambassador on hand to bridge the gaps this will help to open the dialogue between guests and businesses. Businesses can get more involved in the community and the community can get to know the business owners personally. Hart adds, “we love to connect our users offline because it makes the user experience more rich and interesting.”

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Yelp Maui community ambassador Bridgett Parker and Maui Wedding DJ Del.

A few months ago Maui resident Bridgett Parker was hired as the Yelp Maui community ambassador. Parker’s role is connect small businesses with local people, get residents to understand what Yelp is and talk to them about the benefits of this free website. “I think it would be really great to see a lot more people Yelping. We have a lot of content from visitors/tourists and so when I write my Yelp Weekly (email recap with highlights from the island), it’s a little challenging because I don’t have a lot of local content. It would be really great to build a family of Yelpers, like how Emi has (on Oahu) and to do all these events and things and to see businesses flourishing by people coming in and leaving reviews and content,” Parker adds.

The official Yelp Maui launch event was held at Ocean Vodka from 5pm-7pm and many showed up just before 5pm so they could get a head start on the activities, eating and drinking.

To kick everything off a special free Yelp Maui launch event was held this past weekend in Kula at the Ocean Vodka farm and distillery. The event had limited capacity and close to 250 RSVD’d with an additional 400+ on the wait list. Thankfully, it was a beautiful dry evening featuring:
-Chair massages by Maui’s Best Massage
-Cupcake Ladies Catering Co.
-Flash tattoos by Jewel Salon and Spa
-Sampling of Fustini’s oils and vinegars
-Tours of Ocean Vodka Distillery
-Beats by DJ Del
-Sips by Aloha Bars Maui
-Photobooth fun with Pacific Dream Photography
-Light pupus and cocktails
-Contest and prizes from local vendors

So now that Yelp Maui has officially launched, that means Parker will have to plan some pretty epic events to encourage both businesses and residents to interact, engage and get to know each other. “I would love to do more, bigger, extravagant and smaller intimate events, themed events, focused on beauty, dogs, etc,” she says.

Here’s a gallery of images from the event held Sunday night from 5-7 p.m. For more information on future Yelp Maui events create an account on Yelp and stay tuned for the Weekly Yelp email and other invitations based on your location.

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About Olena Heu

Olena is Executive Editor, Food & Lifestyle at MAUIWatch. The founder of Olena Heu Communications, a social media, digital marketing, consulting and freelance writing company, Olena holds a BA and MA in Communication and Speech from Hawaii Pacific University. An adjunct professor, lecturer and motivational speaker Olena is also an award winning journalist, writer, photographer and avid traveler.

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