Radisson Edwardian Hotels has introduced QR codes on its menus, which customers can scan with their smartphones to view a video of the dish being prepared.
The group, which has 13 hotels mostly in London, said it is using the codes as a mechanism to tell the story behind their offerings, and allow guests to see different aspects of the hotel that they may not otherwise have noticed.
QR codes – or Quick Response codes – are postage stamp-sized codes much like a barcode. They can be scanned by smartphones and other mobile devices with free QR software, and direct customers to a browser with more information. As well as linking to text or videos, the codes can also be used to activate GPS functionalities that can help guests find their way around a hotel.
“It’s about trying to capture people’s imaginations when they’re in our buildings. We’re looking at all our assets – including restaurants, meeting spaces and spas – and trying to show them in a different light,” explained Lisa Smith, director of revenue distribution at Radisson Edwardian.
The group has introduced the codes onto the menus of 11 of its hotels, together with a note telling guests to scan the code for more information on the dish of the month.
This leads them to a video hosted on the hotel’s website, which shows the dish being prepared by the hotel’s chef. It provides tips and advice during the preparation, together with information on the ingredients used.
QR codes can be implemented at relatively low cost, explained Smith.
“We set this up together with our digital marketing agency, so it was just a part of our business. Most of the cost is in generating the content behind the code. So for example, it might cost a couple of hundred pounds to create the video,” she said.
“It’s something that most businesses can easily roll out.”
The hotel group’s e-commerce manager Amy Clarke said guests have given positive feedback.
“People taking it in their stride – it’s such a simple thing. As soon as you’ve done it the first time you realise how simple it is, that’s why it’s starting to really pick up now in other fields, particularly in retail advertising.”
“We know it’s not something people are used to in hotels yet, but we want to be amongst the first in the hospitality sector to apply this.”
Radisson Edwardian also plans to use QR codes to promote the diverse uses of its conference spaces. For example, it will include a code within conference programmes that show a video of the conference facilities transformed into social settings.
The group will also use codes on artwork displayed in its venues, and at key points within the venues.
“Most of our hotels have a history, they used to be hospitals or other public buildings. We want to put QR codes into the public areas and tell people the story of where they are,” said Smith.
“People tend not to value the whole input of the hotel, whether it’s the artwork or how to use spaces differently. The codes will let us convey the personality of the hotels that people might not otherwise notice.”