More and more consumers these days recognize the convenience of Quick Response (QR) codes, with the trend especially noticeable in the hospitality business. Many hotels are starting to introduce QR code technologies for their services, from payment to marketing, to combat the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic (Hess, 2020; Hedge, 2020). This essay will consider the perspectives of the widespread use of QR technologies in hospitality.
While QR codes were developed decades ago, they seem to have never been as popular as they have become in 2020. QR codes are two-dimensional matrix bar codes that may contain various types of data such as text and URLs that can be accessed with a mobile phone camera (Hossain, Zhou, and Rahman, 2018, p. 1–2). They can be widely used for commercial purposes to provide “product- or service-related information” (Hossain, Zhou, and Rahman, 2018, p. 2). These days, when customers value safety and convenience, QR codes seem to become an ideal solution for many demands. Hotels started to recognize a competitive edge offered by QR codes some time ago, but, during the pandemic, they were introduced particularly widely: from check-in services and restaurant menus to promoting events, collecting feedback, and offering discounts (Hedge, 2020). Moreover, QR codes can be used for contact tracing to ensure customers health (Turk, 2020). Therefore, it is an important area for further research.
There are several ways in how QR codes can improve customer experience. People tend to prefer contactless options during the pandemic, and many businesses have started to recognize this trend (PYMNTS, 2020). For instance, Square has introduced a QR code-driven option for browsing menus and placing orders and CVS – PayPal QR-code technology (PYMNTS, 2020). Apart from safety, QR codes are also attractive to customers due to their convenience. For instance, they are more likely to scan QR codes at the hotel reception to quickly rate its service than manually access its website. Moreover, QR codes are also more sustainable since they can lower the amount of paper used (for menus, marketing booklets, etc.). This option also means less frequently-touched services reducing the need for extra cleaning. QR codes may directly affect room division performance, requiring less labor for the same results. For instance, customers can quickly require room service without calling a reception office.
Despite these promising perspectives, there is a lack of research on the direct effect of QR codes on hotels performance. Nevertheless, there are grounds to suggest that QR codes can help to maintain hotels KPIs during the pandemic. Occupancy and ADR of many hotels have dropped significantly due to lockdowns and health anxiety. Using QR codes to provide contactless options and ensure customers’ health through contact-tracing technologies can increase customers trust, helping hotels recover. Moreover, QR codes can improve GOPPAR by decreasing labor costs while offering the same services. They are suggested to “increase ROI and customer retention” (Hedge, 2020, para. 4). Therefore, there are many possible benefits of QR codes to hotels performance.
This trend, however, can have a mixed impact on customer satisfaction. Individuals who prefer face-to-face communication and are less familiar with technologies can be confused. On the other hand, people who travel on business tend to prefer efficient services with minimum communication. Moreover, as stated above, more people prefer contactless options during the pandemic. Recent empirical data shows that such indicators as observability and compatibility in QR codes use can positively influence tourists attitudes (Lou, Tian, and Koh, 2017). Therefore, showing that QR codes are compatible with a hotel’s values, such as sustainability or safety, can increase the use of the technology.
To conclude, while there is a lack of research on QR codes impact on hotels performance, there is a ground to believe that they can become a perfect solution to continue marketing and answer customers demands during the pandemic. Moreover, people tend to get used to quick and convenient options. Therefore, it is also likely that QR codes will continue to be the trend even when it is over.
Hedge, A. (2020). QR codes for hotels: ow to implement it for better customer journeys. Web.
Hess, D. (2020). Hoteliers move to QR code use amid pandemic. Web.
Hossain, M.S., Zhou, X. and Rahman, M.F. (2018). Examining the impact of QR codes on purchase intention and customer satisfaction on the basis of perceived flow, International Journal of Engineering Business Management, 10. Web.
Lou, L., Tian, Z., and Koh, J. (2017). Tourist satisfaction enhancement using mobile QR code payment: An empirical investigation, Sustainability, 9(7), p.1–14. Web.
PYMNTS (2020). Pandemic has consumers embracing QR codes and contactless payments. Web.
Turk, V. (2020). Coronavirus has turned the humble QR code into an everyday essential. Web.