QR Codes 101: What Hotel and Apartment Marketers Need to Know

Code Unique, a hotel complex in the Dubai Studio City district, was built with a QR code theme.

Why will QR – Quick Response – Codes be the new standard for moving mobile content? Because Google – through Google Places – is pushing it, and Microsoft, through Microsoft Tag, is close behind. Thanks to Kerry W. Kirby,CEO of 365 Connect and MultifamilyBiz.com for that observation, with which I agree.

Are you in marketing for the long-term?

If so, click here for a story-rich narrative on the evolution of QR Codes. Guaranteed – the first 30 minutes will give you the background perspective needed to successfully pivot your ongoing PR and marketing campaigns within the context of QR Codes, a new standard for moving mobile content. Again, thanks to multifamily industry leaders Ernest Oriente of PowerHour® and Kerry Kirby.

Some Vocabulary

To play with QR Codes, you will need a camera phone – like a smartphone, a QR Code generator and a QR Code reader, also called a scanner.

Generators and readers are not the same. Generators, which create QR Codes from a URL you type in, usually reside on the Internet and are accessible through a browser.

Scanners are downloadable to your smartphone. Click here for a short video on how to use a QR code scanner with a mobile phone

Here is a list of QR Code Generators and Generators with tracking and analytics .

QR Codes need a mobile ready website to convert visitors. YOU need a QR Code reader.

To leverage QR Codes, your hotel or apartment complex will need a mobile ready website, and you personally will need a QR Code reader and QR Code generator. I downloaded i-nigma reader for the iPhone, and plan to use it to generate QR Codes, too. It has analytics, a key feature to measure conversions. Thanks to my colleague and mentor Stephanie True Moss, founder of QRmedia.us, for the guidance.

“Twelve steps to a strong QR Code campaign”

Once you have a reader, a mobile ready website, and an understanding of where this tactic fits into your overall marketing plan and sales goals – now what? Here are Twelve Steps to A Strong QR Code Campaign.  

Fabrice de Nola, an Italian-Belgian visual artist, was the first artist to create works of art, in 2006, using painted QR codes containing web links and texts readable through mobiles.

How do vertical industries use QR Codes?

Still wondering if the learning curve is worth your time for the PR and marketing ROI? Here’s how various industries already use QR Codes:

Retail and Performing Art

  • McDonald’s in Japan puts QR Codes on the side of burger boxes to embed nutritional information.
  • Artists embed info on photos and art with QR Codes.
  • Recording artists promote their music. Fans scan the QR Code and go to the artist’s video.
  • Hollywood promotes movies with QR Codes.
  • Retailers like Calvin Klein, Best Buy and BMW use QR Codes to push product info and specials.

(Thanks Kerry Kirby)

Hotels and Restaurants

  • “Rather than using a survey link on your receipts, use a QR Code.
  • Have your customers give out referral cards with QR Codes on them which lead to a special friends and family rate.
  • Create table tents or displays that lead to review sites so your customers can review your property while it’s still fresh in their mind.
  • Put a QR Code on your door or front window that leads to your Facebook fan page complete with hours and a menu.
  • Use QR Codes on your menu to show diners where your locally sourced food comes from.”

Thanks to Hospitality Marketing Experts for the ideas and 1-minute video.     Another idea is to add a QR Code to your business card that takes the viewer to your Vcard full of contact information.  Thanks to Cendyn (client.)

Destination Marketers

Click here to read best practices for Destination Marketers in the hospitality industry. Much thanks to Two Chicks and Company.

Calvin Klein was the first major U.S. brand to use QR Codes in marketing.

At Softscribe, every day we see how a focus on 1. Content 2. Search Engine Optimization 3. Social Media and other tactics like QR Codes, helps our technology clients reach their sales goals. What other insight about QR Codes, and online marketing + public relations would you like to see? What are some of the biggest obstacles you face? What has been your biggest marketing success to date?

Photo credits: Kevin May, QR Code Hotel

Bottom Up by artist Fabrice de Nola