How the Hotel Industry Can Power Through the Pandemic With QR Codes

The hotel industry globally is facing a uniquely complicated challenge that requires clever solutions in order to stay financially sound now and in the future. Nonetheless, as coronavirus restrictions slowly begin to ease off, now is the opportunity to get in touch with potential guests who are eager to book travel accommodations after being stuck in lockdown. And there’s no better way to do precisely that than with QR Codes.

How has the hotel industry been affected by the coronavirus?

With the hotel industry on lockdown around the globe due to coronavirus, business owners are struggling to survive. In the US, the average hotel occupancy rate dropped by nearly 60% since the pandemic hit, leaving many wondering if they can continue operations even after the social distancing rules are over. Some regions like the European Union (EU) are trying to find a balance between the economy and public health by progressively lessening particular restrictions, especially because tourism provides almost 10% of the EU’s gross domestic product (GDP). Some experts also believe that the hotel and tourism industries as a whole will forever be changed, and need to become more digital to ensure business longevity.

What can the hotel industry do to generate revenue while under lockdown?

Although the situation that the global hotel industry faces is overwhelming, there are still methods that hotels can use to boost their revenue during this difficult time – and even set themselves up for a much brighter, digital future.

Harness the power of social media

If there’s one silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s the increased traffic on digital platforms. The world certainly hasn’t and won’t stop shopping – they’ve merely switched to doing so online. That’s not even a new trend but was just rather expedited. So if the hotel industry wants to stay competitive in the long run, social media needs to become a crucial part of their marketing strategy. In fact, 87% of millennials use Facebook for travel inspiration and 43% of social media users have purchased a product after liking it. When you combine how heavily social media focuses on travel with the fact that brands can use it at absolutely no cost, that’s the key factor hotels can use to keep in touch with customers to incentivize future bookings. Once the borders are open and everyone’s tired of being stuck at home, what’s the first thing they’ll do? Book their next vacation!

Focus on extended stay bookings

If there’s one type of booking you should prioritize for the future, it’s extended stay bookings. Last year, 40% of extended stay hotel revenue was driven by demand staying 7 nights or more as compared to 9% for non-extended stay hotels. In addition, the hotels that already prioritized extended stays have had dramatically less financial losses during the coronavirus than hotels who focused on short term stays. In other words, when hotel guests stay longer, they provide the hotel with more revenue than short term guests, which is a strategy that hotels are highly recommended to implement. 

The key takeaway here is that as soon as people are allowed to travel, they will most certainly do so, and hotel brands can use digital platforms like social media to get in touch with those guests now to encourage future bookings for long term stays. This is not only beneficial during the coronavirus but is also an investment in the digital future that will continue to bring rewards to the travel and hotel industries as a whole.

Why the hotel industry has turned to QR Codes to maintain revenue generation

So how can the hotel industry continue marketing while also maintaining social distancing regulations? There’s no better technology for exactly that than QR Codes! QR Codes have worked so well for social distancing that they not only have helped companies across all industries in the fight against coronavirus, they even helped China stop it from spreading completely.

Safe for social distancing

QR Codes are considered safe for social distancing because they don’t have a minimum distance requirement. You can actually make QR Codes nearly any size necessary (except no smaller than 2 x 2 cm or 0.8 x 0.8 in because they become too hard to read). QR Codes make perfect additions to large print platforms like posters, because they make links accessible from a distance, and they also work just as well on small materials like flyers for the same reason.

Connects print to digital

The hotel industry in particular can use this no-limit distance scanning to their benefit by adding QR Codes to posters directly on their hotels. This is a great way to take advantage of physical space that is otherwise unused and repurpose it directly for generating online bookings.

A QR Code on an ad makes links easily accessible

The key factor here is that QR Codes conveniently connect print to digital. When you add QR Codes to any platform that doesn’t have a direct clickable link, it makes these links to much easier to find. If you consider a billboard ad that doesn’t have a QR Code, you might be really interested in making a purchase, but then need to type in a link later and not be able to find it. That’s extremely frustrating and results in lost customers. So, use QR Codes to connect print to digital and your hotel guests will most certainly thank you! 

Flexible uses for consistent communication

No matter whether your goal is to grow social media followers, generate more bookings with print and digital marketing, or even create custom feedback forms for guests, all of this is possible and more with QR Codes. Furthermore, they are also completely customizable, and even updatable and trackable when you choose Dynamic QR Codes. So, there are endless possibilities to use QR Codes to stay in touch with potential and former guests to power your hotel through the coronavirus.

Examples of how the hotel industry can use QR Codes

In order to clarify how the hotel industry can use QR Codes to generate bookings and build brand awareness, here are a few examples that’ll boost your inspiration.

Giveaway contests in email marketing

QR Codes in emails make social media platforms for a giveaway contest easy to access via mobile

One of the best ways to grow social media followers is to use a giveaway contest because it creates an urgency to join the contest with the possibility to win. The image below highlights one example of how to do this: a hotel has a list of email subscribers and sends email marketing campaigns with a Social Media QR Code, which gives subscribers direct access to all social media profile links on one mobile-optimized page. When a user scans the QR Code and follows those profiles, they are automatically entered into a giveaway contest to win a special offer for a deluxe hotel room for two.

Coupons on social media

Hotels can also use QR Codes directly on social media platforms as well, especially Instagram. Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links on posts or ads. So if you want to access certain links there, you need to send users to the bio, which often has the wrong link. You can remove this confusion by adding a QR Code to the post, enabling users to have direct access to your content. In the image below, a hotel added a Coupon QR Code to their Instagram post to encourage future bookings with a redeemable voucher.

Creating and sharing digital coupons on social media has never been easier with QR Codes

What’s more, QR Codes aren’t just useful for Instagram, they can be used across all digital platforms due to short URLs (a condensed version of your content with a short, clean link). So no matter the platform, when you use QR Codes, you give users the chance to access your content in whichever manner is most convenient for them.

No-touch feedback forms

QR Codes create feedback forms that can be scanned and filled out with no physical touch

QR Codes are highly useful for helping to reduce physical touch on public or shared surfaces within a hotel, too. For example, you can design a table tent with a Feedback QR Code, which creates a completely customizable and mobile-friendly feedback form. Guests can scan the QR Code without touching the table tent, fill in a feedback form on their smartphone in just a few minutes, and the hotel managers will be automatically updated about the new feedback via email. You might also consider placing similar table tents in the hotel lobby or other shared areas where guests might want to leave feedback. Especially with high-stress levels and concerns about hygiene due to the coronavirus, hotel managers can ensure that guests are satisfied with every aspect of their stay.

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