If you haven’t thought about using Quick Response codes as a marketing tool perhaps you are a bit slow off the mark, says Dean Vella, who writes about social media and marketing for the University Alliance
Picture this: a glittering mosaic of colors that viewers feel compelled to admire. Before long they are scanning it with their smartphone to discover what it’s really about. At that point, embedded coding in the mosaic informs mobile phone users about the bars, restaurants, retailers, hotels and many other offerings in London’s popular Carnaby Street shopping district.
Quick Response, or QR codes, may look pretty but they are functional too – the colours used in the mosaic match the colours used in a marketing campaign to highlight particular areas of interest on the and around the street. The mosaic, which appears on storefronts, bags and the free Carnaby Essential Guide publication, also highlights events and promotions in the district, such as art workshops and store discounts.
This type of mobile marketing strategy is just one example of the innovative ways that businesses can incorporate QR codes into their efforts to attract customers. In the case of the Carnaby Street, the colour QR campaign was credited with boosting traffic to the shopping district’s website by more than 250% within a month of the code’s unveiling in May 2011.
QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes that smartphones can quickly convert into pre-written text, website addresses and geographical coordinates. The codes can also add the contact information of a business to the smartphone user’s address book or send the user a text, among other features.
Hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts worldwide are among the firms enjoying the benefits of this mobile strategy, which gives customers something of value that is easily accessible. Here are some of the creative and engaging ways that QR codes are being utilised in the travel and hospitality industries:
Hotels are creating in-room brochures that contain a QR code. When guests scan the code, it opens up a PDF document listing all the amenities available in the room.
The Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, is using QR codes to promote onsite entertainment in hopes of drawing other Las Vegas tourists to the property. The hotel places QR codes on signs, buses and taxis around the city; when scanned, the codes direct the user to a website landing page that offers discounted admission to shows and performances.
The San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau in Texas introduced a QR code that allows smartphone users to take a narrated walking tour of the city’s famous River Walk. Similarly, hotels and inns can use QR codes to provide guests with details about local tourist attractions and restaurants.
The Radisson Edwardian Hotels group in England uses QR codes that lead diners to the hotel’s website, where they can watch a video of one of the chefs creating a signature dish and get tips on how to re-create the meal.
QR codes can be strategically situated near paintings and other objects in an inn or bed or breakfast to provide guests with information regarding the historical, architectural, regional or cultural significance of the items.