I Go Buy With A Little Help From My Friends

My family was recently in Boulder, CO—a place we had hitherto not been. Nice town, but where to go?

We spent most of our time at The Spot rock climbing gym because our kids were competing in the bouldering national championships. After a day of intense heart-stopping competition, with thrills and spills set against a techno soundtrack and a backdrop of camaraderie and raucous cheering, we were ready for a fine dining experience in a relaxing restaurant.

Who better to ask than the locals managing the gym? We exchanged a couple of brief clarifications:

  • We want a nice place with really good food, but we’re wearing jeans.
  • Don’t worry, this is Boulder.

And boom, we had two recommendations close to each other on Pearl Street. We did a quick check of the menus to ensure we could satisfy both the carnivores and herbivores in the family, and decided to go to Sunflower. It was exactly what we wanted.

How about dessert? Several blocks off Pearl Street is a pedestrian mall, so we asked the waiter if there was a good candy or ice cream parlor we could walk to. He had a recommendation for each at the ready: Belvedere Belgian Chocolate Shop and Ben & Jerry’s. We walked along Pearl Street to both, and everyone got just what they wanted.

It couldn’t have been easier. The information was on-demand, very quick, locally relevant, super targeted, and highly reliable.

So, the key to success for online local search is to make the digital analog as compelling as a little help from your friends.

At our hotel room, I retraced our experience online, and it was not nearly as efficient. Looking for a restaurant involved several sites, reading a lot of reviews, and looking at a lot of maps to refine the possibilities down to those that would meet our criteria. Add on a search for chocolate and ice cream, and, well, it could have been easier.

In the end, I am confident an online search would have led us to the same places, but by then it would have been late seating.

For those heading to Boulder, here’s where we went:

  • Sunflower
  • Belvedere Belgian Chocolate Shop
  • Ben and Jerry’s
  • The Spot

Just a little help from a friend.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Local Search Column


About The Author: is director of Open List for Marchex, where he blogs regularly about all things local at LocalPoint, in addition to his regular column for Search Engine Land. The Locals Only column appears on Mondays at Search Engine Land.

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