Use QR Codes as a Hotel Marketing or Guest Service Tool.
By Xotels.com
Monday, 22nd August 2011
QR Codes are taking over window shops and restaurant or bar menu's by storm; is it a FAD, a hype  that will disappear with a year? Or is it the beginning of a new trend in consumer engagement.

How can we apply this in hotel marketing or in giving better service to our guests?

You might have seen them already in window shops or at tradeshows these QR or Quick Response Codes. It is used to divert an offline consumer to an online mobile platform.

They can scan this 2D ‘BAR' code with their mobile device, upon which they are directly diverted to a website landing page, or access all other kinds of information, including web addresses, personal or professional contact information, or FaceBook action / promotion pages. There are several QR apps you can download for free.

The key in using QR codes comes down to added value. You have to give them something that they did not know have yet. You can of course for the ‘win a price' approach, or try to push your special offers.

But our guess is consumers are getting a bit tired of all the special offers thrown at them. This morning I was just reading an article on the? Backlash of the Groupon Effect'. Consumers are getting saturated, by offers already every day.

We have looked for another angle, and are instead using QR codes to improve the guest's service experience. QR codes are used on cards in the rooms, announcements in elevators, at the concierge desk and message boards in the lobby to engage clients with tips on where to dine or what to do during their stay.

Upon scanning the QR code, they will be diverted to the hotel website's blog which contains the latest events, restaurant tips, attractions and activity recommendations, our favorite shops, etc. From here the guest can also navigate to our social media pages.

This is a simple way to increase the guest service level in your hotel, and in the same time connect to your guest through social media platforms like a Blog, FaceBook, Twitter and Google+.

We have introduced this concept with several of our clients, Hotel de Londres in San Sebastian, The Signature Hotels in Saudi Arabia and HTEL Serviced Apartments in Amsterdam, among others, and received very positive feedback. And we are using it for our own hotel management blog as well.

We recommend driving consumers to a specific promotion or landing page, not just your hotel website. In the beginning you will need to educate your guests and include a call to action. Tell them what to do ‘Scan this Code for our Latest Restaurant, Shopping and Tourist Tips'.

People need to think that upon scanning the code they will receive some very cool and interesting information. If you don't have a blog you can send them to your local Tourism or Visitors Bureau website or mobile app.

You could also use it as a promotional tool to offer a discount on drinks in the bar or dinner in the restaurant, and offer 10% - 25% off during certain hours for those who scan it. The QR Code Happy Hour is born …

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