How to use QR codes in hotels as a marketing and guest service tools

QR codesQR codes (short for Quick Response Code) contain data used to point towards your hotel website or any other form of information you want to provide to your hotel guests. QR Codes have taken the hospitality industry by storm – most rapidly during the Covid crisis – and can be seen used anywhere from restaurants menus to playing a role in sharing information about health and safety measures.

Let’s now take a closer look at two main questions:

  • Is it just a FAD, or will the use of QR codes stay after the COVID-19 crisis is over?
  • How can hotel managers efficiently use QR as a communication tool as well as creating revenue generating opportunities? What are some creative examples of how to use QR codes?

Nowadays, it would be difficult to imagine a restaurant or hotel visit without seeing a QR code on display. Anywhere you will see this recognizable signage being used for informative reasons or marketing purposes.

Providing a quick and easy method to access information, QR codes offer great opportunities for hotels to drive revenue, record guest preferences, and improve guest experience by providing useful information to guests throughout the property.

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Simply scanning the 2D ‘BAR’-code offers an easy method to take guests into an online mobile platform, and the opportunities seem to be endless. (Create your own at

So, let us take a look at how hotels can fully unlock the potential of QR codes.

QR codes as a marketing tool for hotels

We can think of quite a few ways QR codes can be used. From pointing to a general web address, to a landing page of your hotel, welcome center, social media page, promotion page, contact pages and more….

Importance of value

The key in using QR codes comes down to added value.

You have to give them something that they did not know yet. Of course, you can aim for the ‘win a price’ approach, or try to push your special offers. But our guess is consumers are getting a bit tired of all the special offers thrown at them.

For everything there is always a turning point where consumers get tired of being sent offers every single day – otherwise known as the “Advertising Saturation Point”.

Your customer’s inboxes are already getting flooded with poor deals with no real value behind them. Think of the likes of or Groupon which endlessly send out new “deals” to their audience.

Knowing the above makes our tip clear: provide value if it is for promotional/marketing purposes. Otherwise it is better to stay away from it and use it for improving guest experience.

By scanning the promotion containing a QR code you can obtain a discount directly on your mobile device.

QR codes as a tool for guest experience

Let’s take a look at it from another angle, and instead see QR codes as a great opportunity to improve the guest’s service experience.

They can be used in various ways including on:

  • Cards in the rooms
  • Announcements in elevators
  • At the concierge desk and message boards in the lobby (inspiring guests with tips on where to dine or ideas for which activities to do)

Upon scanning the QR code, they will be diverted to the hotel website’s blog which contains the latest events, restaurant tips, attractions and activity recommendations, favorite shops, etc. From here the guest can also navigate to any social media page.

This is a simple way to increase guest service levels in your hotel and at the same time, connect to your guest through social media platforms like a hotel blog, FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram.

We recommend driving consumers to a specific promotion or landing page, not just your hotel website. In the beginning you will need to educate your guests and include a ‘Call to Action’.

The best way is to just tell them exactly what to do, in a way that is clear and concise such as: ‘Scan this Code for our Latest Restaurant, Shopping and Tourist Tips’.

The key here is that people need to think that upon scanning the code they will receive some very cool and interesting information.

Make a great offer

A great way is to get your team together and collectively curate a list of everyone’s favorite things to do.

In a way you make a concierge’s recommendation, but with easy access for every guest with the additional benefit of guests having the information by their side on their mobile device at all times. Perfect suggestions include:

  • Favourite restaurants and bars
  • Insider tips on special locations or buildings in the city
  • Quiet or bustling areas, giving options for everyone’s taste (e.g. maybe someone hates going to an overcrowded beach, but would love the quaint little beach that nobody else knows of).
  • Local delicacies, treats and souvenirs
people using qr codes to scan a marketing advertisement. a great marketing tool to use.

Creative examples to use QR codes

Being creative and thoughtful about the use and placement is important as we previously discussed. So, what are great ideas of QR codes for usage in hotels? Let’s take you through some examples:


  • Room features
    • Scan the code and every detail and feature of the room will become visible with a description attached. Think of describing the exact location, full details, and any price per usage that might be involved.
    • Guests will have to call less to the reception for any questions and the information will be quickly available to them (decreasing risk of service failure).
  • Activities
    • Start inspiring guests not only upon check in, but also when they are in the room. No opportunity to create experiences and drive revenue should go untouched, so make sure you have an attractive list ready to be linked to a QR code (use the above listed examples under the “marketing section” for inspiration).

Public areas

  • Hotel amenities & special features
    • Which amenities and where to find them (e.g. gym, spa, restaurant, parking garage, and even though it sounds silly: the shoe polish machine location could be valuable to guests!).
  • History
    • Leverage your hotel/area’s history to engage customers more and drive better guest experiences.
  • Other information
    • Any other information can always be used, but again, make sure that it is relevant and provides additional value to the guests.


  • You could also use it as a promotional tool to offer a discount on drinks in the bar or dinner in the restaurant, and offer 10% – 25% off during certain hours for those who scan it. The QR Code Happy Hour is born! Again be careful not to make it feel like a generic discount with no boundaries set to time or without a “real” discount that makes it worthwhile.
  • Menus
    • Opportunities reach further than just inside the dining room (use the QR code on the menu board outside of the hotel or in the lobby as well).
    • The benefits include:
      • Cost saving and better for the environment with less paper waste
      • More customizable and more frequent updates possible
      • Higher degree of available information with “hover over” effects as a tool to have a clean design. Great for showing allergenicinformation for example, which usually gathers up quite the list to be able to fully show on a traditional menu.


  • Loyalty programs and call to action for downloading the hotel app
    • Include it on your keycards, brochures, print outs, or the curated recommendation list as explained previously.
  • Write a review
    • Spread your opportunities by having a QR in the room for reviewing the hotel stay, and also in other places such as the bar on napkins or coasters to review the bar or taste of your drink!
  • Registering for an event or activities in your hotel
    • Yoga session
    • Guided city tours
    • Airport shuttle service
    • Anything could work that allows simple registration for guests
  • Promote events
    • Again, only if you can make it work well and provide value. Perhaps offering more information about an event you are hosting whereby guests can directly register on the same page after reading the full details of the event.
  • Facilitating contactless payments
    • Contactless payment is a hot ticket right now everywhere, so why not use it? Just like in the example above, it can be for events or scanning a QR code to pay for something small in the lobby or your room. It’s a great option for guests who do not want something billed to the room (family or the guest themselves) or simply do not have the cash on hand. Otherwise, you might risk losing that conversion of revenue into your pocket!

Here a final example: how about a daily raffle for a free upgrade? ¨WANT A FREE UPGRADE? SCAN ME!¨

Upon scanning, guests receive instructions to post hotel pictures with a specific hashtag(s) on their social media account to be eligible for a complimentary room upgrade or another giveaway prize.

This way you will leverage their personal network to create exposure for your hotel. And while you are at it, they should add a discount code for their friends. This should get you some decent viral exposure.

QR codes are here to stay in hotels!

In summary, it can be said that

Tags: QR codes

CEO of Xotel, Barcelona, Spain

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