Quick Response code, commonly known as QR code, is a type of 2-dimensional barcode that can be read with smartphones and web applications. They were originally developed by Japanese corporation Denso Wave in 1994 for industrial use
The increasing popularity of smartphones with round-the-clock Internet connectivity, along with the development of innovative commercial applications of QR codes, has led to its widespread use throughout the years, leading to a boom with 2017’s iOS 11 update allowing QR codes to be scanned directly through the camera app. QR codes are now native to most smartphones, and users no longer need to download a separate app to use QR codes.
QR Codes can be used to store a large amount of data of any sort obtainable as simple as turning on your phone and camera, and pointing towards it.
This presents them as a very interesting solution to many challenges.
In this article, we will discuss some ways QR Codes can help the tourism industry navigate the COVID era
COVID-19 has had us witness enormous blows tourism industry is taking since its start. Certainly, the pandemic is influencing all the pores of humanity, however, no industry has been shaken so violently as tourism and hospitality.
Bars and restaurants have been closed and reopened to be closed yet again, social distancing is practiced, travels have been restricted with air transport being at its historical lows. Hotel industry has been struck with enormous losses struggling to stay afloat, while the cruise industry has been put to a complete halt since the very start of the pandemic.
Regardless of challenges, tourism has always been one of the most resilient industries. Its in human nature to travel, to socialize, see and feel new things, and it is in the nature of the industry to find ways to allow for it to happen. Tourism will endure, adapt, and find ways to provide great experiences again.
What about “New Normal”?
Will the “new normal” be the “normal we remember”? Most probably not at all, or at least for a long time.
One thing will continue to be a norm, as it always was; guest engagement matters. Companies that take pride in providing great experiences will overcome the problems and keep their guests.
When customers feel engaged and respected within an establishment, they are bound to come back.
Resolving issues, soliciting feedback, planning and acting on it will always be what distinguishes businesses.
QR Codes in a restaurant menu
QR Codes can be used for multiple purposes in restaurants — for example, asides from just listing the food items, restaurants can give information about calories intake of a particular meal and even show recipe videos to add a proof of quality for their food, which is more than your hard copy menu would be able to present.
Next to this, hard copy, reusable menu is now a less desirable item, as our phone guarantees a certain amount of safety when it comes to transmitting viruses over frequently touched surfaces. To put it bluntly, in most cases we know who touched our phone. We aren't always sure who touched the menu. The advantage of a QR code menu VS printing sheets of disposable paper menu should be obvious if we consider the ecological and financial expense with producing so many sheets of paper present.
QR Codes providing area information
All around the world, cities started using QR Codes when providing area information. They can be used in parks, bus stops, heritage sites, roads.
They can help tourists in learning history, listening to anecdotes, or seeing some real videos, as an alternative to having a large group to put a performance for another large group of people, especially with strict social distancing measures in place.
Also, it is reusable, and can be played at any time.
QR Codes enabling customer issue resolution in hotels
Hotel owners are familiar with lines by their guest service desks, especially on turnover day, when a lot of guests leave the premise, and new guests come for their vacation.
This creates a challenging situation for the reception staff in some cases to handle, also in many cases a negative picture for our guests, as they have to wait in line to report an issue, which might be especially disappointing as they came to enjoy their vacation and not stay in line. With the new norms, having people crowd a certain area is now not allowed in order to stop the virus from spreading. We have to advise our guest to come back later when the line is smaller. Do we really want to have them walk around?
They can use the room phone, but what if the operator is currently busy? Who likes listening to those nice jingles while hearing the automated voice on the other side saying: “Currently all of our representatives are busy, we will connect you as soon as one comes available.”?
We want our guests to be waiting as short as possible, if waiting is required.
One of the ways how we use QR at Pollymetrix is:
Our clients use the app to create a short click funnel survey with a couple of short questions regarding their guests experience, and print them out in a QR format on a sticker that is placed in every room.
If guests experience any challenges or want to report an issue, they can do it by simply scanning the QR code and answering a couple of questions. In case they are experiencing issues with anything, reception and the hotel manager is alerted, and ready to take the next steps to resolve the issue.
We found that this approach releases the pressure on the reception desk, eases the process of reporting issues for our guests, and works great as an anti Covid measure, as it minimizes longer close contact time.
We will be back!
Two things are certain: New normal will be challenging for all of us, especially for the tourism industry. Tourism will rise to the challenge and overcome it, same as it always has.
One of the solutions might lie in QR codes, as their nature in itself eliminates the need for crowding, touching other surfaces and transmitting viruses.
It might also be a great time saver, and your guests might be happy with the ways you managed to engage with them.
Nothing will be able to replace human engagement completely, however this is a great way to add another dimension to it even after the pandemic is done!
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