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‘Don’t limit focus on mobile just to apps’ and ‘don’t be afraid of change– Yelp and TripAdvisor offer mobile presence advice

Companies that want a strong mobile presence shouldn’t limit their focus on mobile purely to developing apps and shouldn’t be afraid of changing tack if something doesn’t work out, according to Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Speaking at the Open Mobile Summit in London today Sheera Gendzel, international business development lead at Yelp, said the reviews site has been working to “close the gap” between the experience users get on the Yelp app and the mobile website, and urged others to do the same.

“We are seeing more and more traffic coming to us on the mobile web and we are working to make that experience just as great. Recently we launched the ability to add photos from the mobile web to encourage contribution because the website, which if you google Indian restaurant in London, is a very common way you come to find us. Don’t just think of the app as two thirds of people may never open it again.”

TripAdvisor's VP of mobile partnerships, Nathan Clapton, stressed the importance of constantly testing and trying new things, and that if something doesn’t work “you’ll see that in the user numbers” – an experience the reviews site recently went through.

“We launched augmented reality, nobody used it so we put it down the list, didn’t make it as obvious and then we dropped it. So keep trying new things.”

Gendzel also discussed Yelp’s recently launched Yelp Reservations which lets users book a reservation from the Yelp business listing on their mobile or desktop computers. The free tool is similar to Yelp’s current paid-for reservations application SeatMe (which charges businesses, not the user), which the reviews site acquired last year.

Speaking to The Drum Gendzel said the new reservations tool is a “stripped down version” of Yelp SeatMe designed to bring the functionality to a wider audience.

“At this point it’s not a monetised feature, it’s more for the user experience.”

Gendzel added that looking forward Yelp aims to continue its expansion into other countries and will continue to acquire other platform partners to utilise different booking and reservation facilities.