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Since the invention of the QR code, have tourism businesses actually taken advantage of them and what is even more important: are consumers using them? There are a lot of things that can go wrong when using QR codes, so should tourism businesses still aim to provide them within destinations or should they invest in other ways of using digital technology? This is a very difficult question to answer and many marketers have tried before. The location and purpose of QR codes differ and the success of these campaign banners with QR codes as well. With companies increasing that offer tools to build QR codes, this article will try to give some recommendations in terms of how to use QR codes and where they can be most efficient (TechHive 2013).

QUALITY OF QR CODES

The quality of QR codes we often see differs. Companies can print QR codes on food such as Ecuador does by adding a QR code to bananas to promote and encourage tourism in the country. QR codes can also be printed on coffee or tea mugs, plates, banners or print material. However, very often once the code is scanned, which normally happens through using a mobile phone or sometimes tablet, the site where consumers end up is not mobile optimised. This is very damaging, as consumers will close down the site straightaway, due to the user experience being not good enough or very disappointing. Rather than investing into setting up a QR code and distributing it, there should be investments first into mobile optimising the companies’ website or doing a specific site where consumers will land once scanning the QR code.

CONSUMERS AND QR CODES

Another important point to consider for travel companies thinking about doing something with a QR code would be to figure out how the code can be part of consumers’ overall experience when visiting a store, attraction or destination. By incorporating QR codes into daily activities of consumers, tourism businesses have the chance of using them in a successful way. Very often, it is unclear to see who is actually using a QR code, therefore it would be good to use it in a more creative way. Creating a very creative and unique mobile optimised site that adds value to consumers scanning and using a QR code is a good idea to solve this issue. Tourism businesses could then measure and monitor how many consumers scan a QR code by looking at how many consumers are using the dedicated website.

QR code readers are also not built into Smartphones which means consumers need to download a QR code reader first, before being able to scan and read a code. QR codes are always in danger of being replaced by other technologies that are more efficient such as NFC, image recognition or other ways of providing content and information to consumers in a seamless way.

3 things to consider for successfully using QR codes:

  1. Ensure that QR code leads to mobile optimised websites
  2. Integrate QR codes into consumers daily activities
  3. More creative ways and environments in which QR codes are used, the better consumers will respond and use them

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