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QR codes are a fantastic addition to tourism in any industry including hotels, museums, public spaces, historical sites, theme parks, transportation authorities, restaurants, maps, and tours. Since dynamic QR codes are changeable as tourism changes daily, it is convenient to place them in any scannable location to educate people with augmented reality (AR experiences) and other virtual information easily stored in mobile phones. Moreover, smartphones can translate most materials nowadays making it more comfortable for foreigners to receive information who do not understand the local language.

Benefits of QR Codes for Tourism

1. It makes cities more welcoming

Using QR codes on displays with maps, downloadable apps of city tours, and historical information on buildings makes cities more welcoming for tourists and even locals. Displaying public information about popular shopping sites, public transportation routes, and community events will keep people informed and surprise them about festivals and local markets they didn't know about before.

2. It is helpful for people who speak other languages

Since smartphones translate most websites nowadays, scanning a QR code directly to their phones is easier than writing detailed information in public spaces on print, and risking that the reader does not understand the language provided. When the language barrier is removed, it is easier to travel with comfort.

3. It keeps cities cleaner

Having fewer paper materials for tourists or even locals like printed brochures, ticket stubs, and flyers at events will keep cities and gutters less cluttered for a sustainable and eco-friendly option. This is especially helpful for areas of conservation like ecological reserves, campsites with other litter, beaches, and more.

Travel Agent Central reports, "A large majority of global travelers – 87% – say that they want to travel sustainably, according to the new Sustainable Travel Report released by Booking.com in honor of Earth Day on April 22."

4. It's editable for changing information

Since tourism is an ever-changing industry, dynamic QR codes are convenient for editing and updating information as much as necessary. Make changes in the QR code without having to reprint public displays and maps.

5. It keeps various campaigns organized

Tourism is an active industry and it is easy to become overwhelmed between updates and events. With Supercode's dashboard, you can organize your QR codes in different, customizable folders, easily personalized for your industry specifically. Finding any QR code for updates and changes is simple to do as well as deleting and creating new codes for additions.

girl scans QR code on public park sign
Image source: SunStar

Applications of QR Codes for Tourism

1. Post routes with popular attractions on public transportation lines

Placing QR codes on maps with bus and train routes will benefit the passenger so they can track where they are on their route, and find popular attractions with ease. Also, QR codes leading to apps of transportation lines are helpful.

2. Advertise upcoming festivals and community events

In high traffic areas, posting a display with dates of festivals and events with a QR code helps relay interesting information for people that did not know about the event and for people who want to know more. Make it easy for them to buy tickets on m-commerce sites and offer promotions for scanning, like 2x1 tickets or a free drink with their purchase when they arrive.

3. Place QR codes on hotel displays instead of using brochures and printed maps

Having a display with QR codes in hotels will route the tourist to various suggestions like restaurants, tourist attractions, and events. Showing websites, ticketing information, menus, maps, and more, this translatable material can be stored on their mobile phones to take with them instead of heavy, printed materials.

4. Make a QR code for a scavenger hunt

Offer a scavenger hunt through popular cafes, gift shops, historical sites, museums, and tourist attractions with QR codes attached at every site. It will give tourists something fun to do and visit shops, restaurants, and other sites that are new to them while promoting the tourism economy. Add AR experiences at historical sites and fun, educational virtual materials that are too detailed to write in smaller physical spaces.

5. Create QR codes for theme parks

Instead of waiting in long lines for food and rides, scan a QR code and put guests in a queue so they can enjoy the park and walk around until it's their turn to ride and pick up food. This also alleviates waiting in a line for hours just to find 5 people have cut in front of you.

new york sightseeing pass QR code on mobile
Image source: The Sightseeing Pass

How to Create a QR Code for Tourism

Creating QR codes on Supercode is easy and takes seconds. Here is a quick guide on how to create QR codes for tourism to achieve your goals.

1. Choose the right type of QR code. Here are some of our suggestions:

  • URL QR Codes - perfect for sharing website content or sending people directly to your website for information on events, tours, routes, transportation lines, and more.
  • Social Media QR Codes - ideal for increasing the number of followers on your social media accounts so tourists can follow relevant information about their stays and things to do.
  • Feedback QR Codes - great for receiving feedback QR code in places where tourists go according to industries like hotels, public transportation, and events.
  • Email QR Codes - fantastic for questions regarding customer service, complaints, suggestions, and lost and found issues.
  • SMS QR Codes - amazing for information that is necessary in an already prewritten SMS message. This code works everywhere as it requires no internet connection. Perfect for subway tunnels without internet connection.
  • vCard QR Codes - the easiest way for passengers to get in touch with customer service or lost and found directly, and business cards for those who give spa treatments and massages in hotels.
  • Plain Text QR Codes - static QR codes that may be scanned for coupons or promotions for products, events, or services.
Supercode different types of QR codes

2. Create a code

Creating a code on Supercode is easy and takes seconds. Choose the type, the link or the content to include and click on save when you are ready.

create a QR code on Supercode QR code generator platform

3. Modify the design

Design the QR code to match your branding guidelines and make your code attractive for customers.

modify design of a QR code on Supercode QR code generator platform

4. Add your QR code to a folder to organize your workspace

Add customizable categories for new folders in the Supercode dashboard. Or, add your new QR code to a preexisting folder, both of which you can share with your marketing and management teams.

save QR codes to different folders on Supercode platform

5. Test the code

Scan the code by directing your phone camera on it and check if all the content displayed is correct. To make changes, simply go back to the dashboard and edit the code.

bright colourful QR codes generated on Supercode platform

6. Print the code 

Place the code on any surface tourists go to so they can receive information to their smartphones that is translatable.

Supercode QR code printed on a business card

7. Track analytics

Track each scanned code on the Supercode dashboard for your campaign so you may collect feedback and measure the success of each QR code.

Supercode analytics dashboard with QR code scans performance

Learn how to create a QR code with Supercode's QR code generator here.

Best Practices of QR Codes for Tourism

1. Airport Shopping

JCDecaux North America and Nautica launched a shopping section in the JFK and LaGuardia airports with QR codes on every item of clothing. By placing the wall wraps in high traffic areas in the airports, shoppers were able to buy while they were waiting. The campaign earned 530 sales over a 4 week period of time, which was measurable by the QR code analytics.

man scanning QR codes at nautica shop in airport
Image source: JCDecaux

2. Personalized touches in hotels

At the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver, guests are welcomed with 3 shortbread cookies in their room persuading them to follow the hotel on Facebook and Twitter, and a third with a QR code welcoming them personally to the hotel. A woman named Katie shared this lovely and delicious touch on Twitter and the tweet was shared 30,000 times on social media according to Harbor32.co.uk.

the westin cookie platter with social media and QR code cookies
Image source: Harbour 32

3. Use QR codes to educate people about historical sites

According to Shine.cn, 1000 buildings and protected areas in Shanghai will have QR codes on them to educate people about the history and structure of the sites, per the tourism authority. The QR codes will offer bilingual texts, also in English but smartphones nowadays can translate most materials.

woman scans QR codes at Shanghai historical site
Image source: Jiang Xiaowei

4. Use QR code payment systems for ease

This article in the Bangkok Post reports, "The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched its "Enjoy Local" campaign, offering QR code payment for tourists purchasing products and services at over 6,000 locations across the country." The idea is to have tourists and locals branch out into visiting all 55 of Thailand's provinces, not only the already popular tourist cities.

QR code payment on buildings for thai tourism
Image source: Bangkok Post

5. Offer self-guided tours

Winnipeg Architecture offers interactive tours to educate the community and tourists through scanning a QR code on mobile phones. They present the tour with bilingual narration and an original music soundtrack at participating sites.

QR codes self-guided tours for winnipeg architecture
Image source: Winnipeg Architecture Foundation
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