Start Looking for QR Codes to Your Favorite WebsitesJuly 29th, 2011 by The JetSetter Team | Comments Off on Start Looking for QR Codes to Your Favorite Websites
If you haven’t heard about Quick Response (QR) codes yet, you have now. As is the usual inevitable reality, stuff that has been way cool in Japan for years eventually finds it’s way to our shores. So it is with QR codes. But what does this have to do with your favorite travel website? Stay tuned and we’ll tell you all about it. But first a quick primer in what QR codes are in the first place. A QR code is sort of an Internet version of the traditional bar code that your trusty grocery store clerk scans as she totals up food purchases for the week.
But this more – so much more.
Where bar codes are one dimensional and only hold 20 numeric characters. QR codes are a two dimensional matrix mutation of a bar code that can hold thousands of alpha-numeric characters. This ability to hold more information combines with ease of use to make them perfect for small businesses to use in their marketing efforts. Here’s what happens. When you scan a QR code with your iPhone, Android, Blackberry, or other camera enabled smartphone, a wonderful thing happens. You can be magically transported to a wealth of digital content on the Internet – maybe even a super special discount deal specifically for those who access the retailer via a QR code.
The cool thing, from a business point of view is that business owners could be using QR codes right now to tap into the market of bleeding edge technology customers who would sooner gouge their eyes out with a rusty nail than be caught on the street without their communication gadget. Does the term “captive audience” ring a bell? There are plenty of websites already online that help users generate their own QR codes for free.
What does any of this have to do with how you interact with your favorite travel website? Consider this. Maybe you’re browsing the travel section in your favorite bookstore – quaint, we know but not EVERYONE has a Kindle or Nook yet – when suddenly you notice a QR code embedded inside the cover of a travel guide to Key West, and it promises a heckuva airfare deal to anyone who scans the thing and books a trip.
Well, you’re not averse to going to Key West, right? So, smooth as silk, you whip out your iPhone and scan the code, which does whatever mysterious, hocus-pocus process that QR codes do and, whammo, you’re linked to a special landing page at Travelocity that offers a 50% discount on flights to Key West directly to you and you alone. The only way a person ever sees that particular landing page is through the QR code you just scanned.
Pretty cool, huh? It only takes a cursory contemplation of the idea to uncover a myriad of possibilities. How could a travel website use QR codes?
* embedded on the front or back of a business card
* Your brochures and other marketing materials.
* sides of trucks and trailers
* product tags and packaging
* convention and event name tags
* restaurant menus
* event ticket stubs
* point of sale receipts
And, of course, the list goes on and on, limited only to the number of things a marketer can dream up to stick one on. But what could a QR code link to? Just a simple, little landing page? Oh no, mi amigo, the
possibilities there are endless too. Here are few ideas to whet your digital appetite.
* installation instructions
* sources for replacement parts and service
* directions to your business
* process for hiring their professional services
* coupons and special offers
* recommendations for complementary products and services
* mp3 downloads
* feedback forms
United Airlines is already using 2D digital codes as boarding passes. All carriers will be required to provide this service by the end of 2011. Next time you’re in line to board your flight, note the increased number of passengers holding up their cell phone, rather than a paper boarding pass, to the ticket agent for a quick scan. Or maybe you’re one of the early adopters of this technology who’s already doing this.
One thing is for certain. The travel industry is primed to adopt QR codes in a big way, and travel websites are one place you can expect to start seeing them show up. Okay, so maybe two things are for certain. 2D bar codes are not the end of the revolution. How long do you expect it to be before the next generation arrives that enables you to skip the Internet entirely, with the information you need being embedded completely in the bar code itself?
Oh, the places tomorrow’s QR codes are going to take you. Hold on, folks!
The Jetsetter Show Team
(Flickr / Flynn Wynn)