Get a Direct Real-tim Connection to Your Customers with a New Kind of Barcode

Until recently, barcodes have traditionally been printed on paper labels. But a new kind of barcode has arrived, opening up a world of new applications in the hospitality industry — the mobile barcode. A mobile barcode is simply an electronic version of a barcode that can be stored and displayed on the screen of a mobile phone, providing a direct channel of communication with the most personal device your customer owns — their mobile phone. Whether you are in the hotel business or run a casino, theater, arena, ski resort or amusement park, you can use mobile barcodes to create powerful one-to-one, very low cost marketing programs that take personalized customer service to a new level, help customers save time and money, and drive up revenue and customer loyalty.

Ready or not, here they come

The interesting thing about mobile barcodes is that, unlike any other marketing initiative, your guests just might begin to use them before you do. As people look for ways to simplify their busy lives, mobile barcodes are a natural fit, allowing customers to carry electronic versions of everything from loyalty cards and tickets to coupons, right on the one device that is always with them — their mobile phone. Customers can convert your plastic loyalty card to a mobile barcode with readily available applications on the Web, purchase mobile tickets through a third party ticketing agency or even search the web for available discounts in the form of mobile coupons. So whether you plan to rolloutmobile barcodes in the near or distant future, in order to serve today’s customer, it is important to understand the potential mobile barcode applications in hospitality — and be ready to scan them when they arrive at your door.

Mobile barcode applications in the hospitality industry

Three mobile barcode applications are being utilized in the hospitality industry today: event ticketing, loyalty cards and coupons.

  • Event Ticketing: In the past, entertainment venue guests could choose one of three ways to obtain tickets. Guests could simply stand in line at a ticket office to purchase a ticket, order tickets through the mail, or receive an electronic PDF file to print and carry to the venue. But mobile barcodes provide a fourth option that is not only extremely convenient for guests, but is also very cost effective for your business — the mobile ticket.

    Mobile tickets are already big business. Nearly 23 billion mobile transport and event tickets will be purchased globally by 2020, more than twice the volume expected in 2016.1 And since tickets to your venue may be sold by a third party ticketing company that offers mobile tickets, you need to understand and be ready to accept mobile tickets from your guests.
  • Loyalty Card: The loyalty card has become a staple of society, a way for businesses to reward repeat visits and continued loyalty. The mobile barcode allows you to create mobile loyalty cards that can be carried in a cell phone, improving customer convenience and reducing program costs. No longer do hotel guests or restaurant patrons need to carry physical cards. Guests appreciate these benefits. A recent survey found that 75 percent of smartphone shoppers are interested in saving loyalty cards to their devices.

    And with easy-to-use and readily available Web sites and applications that convert loyalty cards into mobile barcodes, chances are your guests will present a mobile loyalty card long before you issue them. As a result, any business that issues a loyalty card needs to be ready to read the mobile barcode on the display of a guest’s mobile phone.
  • Mobile Couponing: Mobile barcodes allow you to create highly successful and cost-effective mobile coupon programs. Imagine a hotel that can send a daily discount coupon to guests to promote sales in the spa, restaurants and retail shops located inside the property walls. Imagine a restaurant that can allow regular patrons to obtain coupons in whatever fashion makes them comfortable — from signing up for coupons on a website and sending a text message to get the ‘coupon of the day’ to allowing coupons to be automatically issued when GPS data on their mobile phone flags that they are in or near the establishment. Imagine a stadium that can monitor food sales during an event and run a marketing program to drive up sales during the event itself. In just minutes, a stadium could send a 2-for-1 beverage coupon to the mobile phones of all the patrons in the seats. You have just imagined the power of mobile couponing.

Chances are that the scanner you have in place today is designed to only read barcodes on paper labels. To prepare for mobile barcodes, you need scanners that can capture barcodes on the challenging highly reflective display of a mobile phone or computer. And with Zebra’s imager family, you can.