By all accounts, Yelp is giving sponsorship a positive review.

The user-generated content provider is using sponsorship to build visibility, engage users and reinforce its positioning as the place to go for local reviews.

The company looks to accomplish that goal through partnerships with food and wine, film, music and other types of festivals.

Yelp typically signs barter deals, around which it trades promotional support for tickets, signage and other inventory.

Yelp, for example, promotes the Sonoma International Film Festival in its weekly newsletter (150,000-plus subscribers) and event calendar for the North Bay. It also offers Yelpers a special access code for tickets.  

In exchange, Yelp receives signage, tickets and on-site real estate, an asset if often uses to host a photo booth where consumers can receive a free picture in exchange for downloading the Yelp mobile app.

“We want to get in front of people who are socially active and urban and suburban explorers. Our tagline is ‘We know just the place,’ so we want to encourage people to use the Yelp app to find a great restaurant or coffee shop after the festival,” said Kevin Blum, Yelp North Bay community marketing manager.

The app has surpassed desktop computers as the most popular way to access the site, he said.

Yelp also uses sponsorship to engage Yelp Elite—consumers who post quality content on a frequent basis. The Yelp Elite Council vets consumers who apply for Elite Squad status; those who are approved must reapply once a year.

“They are our most prolific contributors. Without great content we don’t have a web site.”

Yelp engages Yelp Elite with tickets and other special perk. For example, the company leveraged SIFF with tickets to a Q&A that featured John Travolta and other actors.

“Yelp is a fantastic year-round partner for the Sonoma International Film Festival as they provide tremendous exposure to their huge database of Yelpers in both the San Francisco Bay Area as well as North Bay and Sonoma. They bring a new demographic of attendees to the festival,” said Beth Schnitzer, president of Spritz Marketing, SIFF’s official marketing and creative agency.

Other sponsorships on behalf of the North Bay region include the Mill Valley Film Festival, Taste of Petaluma and Bottlerock music festival.

Yelp spearheads sponsorships on behalf of more than 100 community marketing managers around the U.S. and more than 150 globally.