Two Years Later And Not Much Change In Yelp Presence

Back on 12/5/2011 I published an article that examined the pros and cons of orchestras creating a strong Yelp presence via ticket buyer reviews. At that point in time, even the largest and best known orchestras had a very small Yelp presence and since then, not much has changed.

yelpFor example, the Chicago Symphony had 81 reviews in 2011 which moved to 98 and the San Francisco Symphony had 140 reviews in 2011 and that jumped up to 180. What’s interesting to note is that in many of the reviews since 2011, the trend of focusing on non-artistic items remains very strong, which simply continues to reinforce just how important the overall concert experience is to ticket buyers.

Good noise level, good beer selection and light food. 10/22/2013

One word of caution, the box office has a tendency to mess up advance sales. I’ve had three incidents where my tickets weren’t there or my $11 ticket was billed as $125! 1/3/2013

There are no bathroom attendants, which I prefer, and there wasn’t any coat check that I saw. Rows are pretty close together (unless you are seated in the first three rows of the middle section on the main floor, which are wider for handicap accessibility), so be prepared to sit up, get out of the row, or have to shimmy past people to your seat. 3/29/2013

Then there’s the whole good Karma thing:

I haven’t (yet) been to the symphony, but I’m damn sure going to, and this is why.

I lost my wallet a week ago, ID, credit cards, cash, everything. Worst thing that can happen.

4 days later it arrived in my mailbox, returned to me with a note from Oliver Theil of the San Francisco Symphony, who found it on the street, and mailed it to me without a single dollar missing.

My thinking is: good folks typically put on a good show – so I’m booking tickets for the next event today. 4/20/2013

On the downside, it seems like one of the primary complaints from 2011, overwhelming fundraising and sales calls, remains the primary source for overwhelmingly low review scores.

SF Symphony telemarketing department will NOT stop harrassing [sic] me by calling my number relentlessly. 6/4/2013

Enjoy the show, but do NOT give them your contact info – you’ll never get rid of them!… I’ve politely declined and told the various people to please remove me from their lists… I’ve been told more than once that their different departments keep different databases or some such nonsense. Totally inexcusable, possibly against privacy/do not call laws… 1/28/2013

I get telemarketer calls, but no one calls me as frequently as them. Such a classless act for such a classy establishment. Bottom line is, do not give them your number. Concert experience is 5 stars, but constant phone calls harassing me to buy packages? 0 star if I can. 9/24/2012

Although Yelp is far from a perfect review service (are there any?) it is still a go-to destination and in the eyes of single ticket buyers, we’re in competition for ticket buying dollars just like any other form of entertainment.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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