Smart Scanning: 7 Ways to Create a Great QR Code Campaign

QR CodesIn the last posts in our Smart Scanning series we gave an introduction to QR codes in hospitality marketing and showed some examples of six savvy hotels using QR codes. But what makes a really great QR code campaign? Now that you’ve become more aware of QR codes you are probably starting to notice everywhere in your daily life. Just like any marketing campaign, they can’t all be successful efforts, can they? So what is the difference between a great QR Code Campaign and a complete dud? 

Here are 7 ways to make sure your QR code campaign is a hit in your hotel marketing strategy:

1.  Target a tech savvy or early adopter/influencer audience.


There are some instances when it just flat out does not make sense to use QR codes in your hospitality marketing mix and expect success. The first question you should ask yourself is: Does the majority of my target audience use smartphones? If you’re not sure that the answer to that question is a resounding “YES!” then you may want to rethink using them.

2.  Give instructions to the consumer and give other options when possible.


Texting from mobile phoneJust as we should consider the target audience when creating our campaign we should also keep in mind that even those who have smart phones may not know what a QR code is or how to use one. The best way to ensure people know what these are is to give instructions. A simple “scan this code for more information” can often do the trick. You may also want to consider giving another option to those who have a mobile phone but don’t have a smart phone or a smart phone with a camera and therefore are unable to scan the code. One option is to offer the consumer to simply text to a certain number (ex. “Text ‘HOTEL’ from your phone for more information”). Giving options ensures you reach a broader audience of people who may not have the latest and greatest smart phone on the market.

3.  Keep the URL short when driving consumers to a web page.

This is a simple trick but it matters a lot. By keeping the URL short you are reducing the chance for error when scanning the code. QR Codes are composed of data and the more data in the code the more complicated the code (read: more black or colored squares). When you start printing hundreds and thousands of these codes on collateral or paper the chance that some of these codes do not print correctly begin to increase. Keep the URL simple, the code will look less complex and you’ll reduce the chance that any errors occur in the printing or scanning.

4.  Send consumers to targeted content or a unique experience.

I can’t count how many times I’ve scanned a QR code only to go to the company’s home page or a web page that had little or nothing to do with why I wanted to scan the code. Come on! Give the consumer exactly what they are looking for. They took the time to whip out their phone to find out more information so you want to give them targeted content that is relevant to them. For example, if you are using QR codes on the collateral you hand out at your tradeshow booth, you want to make sure you send planners to content specifically relevant to meeting and event professionals. Why would you send them to a generic page on your website? 

5.  Make sure the website is optimized for mobile use!

This should go without saying, but it is often overlooked. If you are sending consumers to a website from a QR code make sure that it is optimized for mobile use. If it’s not optimized for mobile use then rethink where you are sending users. It does neither you nor the user any good to be sent to a website that is not usable on a mobile device.

6.  Make content easily shareable on social networks.

Mobile phones are inherently social. If you are driving a consumer to content on their mobile phone make sure that it is easy for them to share on any social media sites or email to a colleague.

7.  Ensure the mobile experience was worth the user’s time and effort.


Anyone who takes time to scan a QR code is very interested and highly engaged.  Don’t disappoint them.

Are you using QR codes in your hospitality marketing? Share your story below and we may feature you in a future post!

For more hospitality marketing tips, tricks and best practices sign-up for the Cvent Group Business Now Newsletter.
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