Why QR codes are the future of hospitality

May 26, 2021

Across the globe, hospitality businesses are faced with the task of providing low-touch payment options that are simple and secure. 

Customer habits and preferences are changing, and QR codes offer the hospitality industry an opportunity to level up the quality of its service with a much more frictionless customer journey.

At Pomelo Pay, we help businesses take payments with QR codes and have seen first-hand how popular QR codes have become specifically in the hospitality industry.

qr code payment pomelo pay

The rise of QR codes

QR codes were first introduced in Japan in the 90s. In 2010, they quickly grew in popularity in Asia, where Chinese shoppers now use QR codes for ⅓ of all payments. People realised just how efficient QR payments are for sharing information and simplifying payments.

QR code technology really took off in the West in 2017, when Apple introduced active QR code scanners inside their camera app. This allowed almost all smartphones to scan a QR code without having to download a separate app.

QR code adoption is quickly gathering speed. According to a Mobileiron survey, 86.66% of smartphone users have scanned a QR code once in their lifetime, 72% have scanned a QR code in the past month and 67% agree that QR codes make life easier in an increasingly contactless world.

It’s predicted that by 2025, QR codes will be used by 30% of all mobile users.

Want to learn more about QR codes? Check our report: The State of QR Code Payments in 2021

Why QR codes? It’s what customers want

Why are QR codes getting so popular? The main reason is that they offer an experience that benefits the customer.

Used to customer experiences such as Amazon, Instagram and Google, customers want a seamless, quick, integrated and contactless way to pay. QR codes are a big step towards a frictionless customer journey.

At Pomelo Pay, we have found that whether it’s a merchant in Vietnam, a resort in the Maldives or a taxi company in the UK, businesses have the same pain points: how to make payments seamless and effortless experience.

QR codes solve a lot of these problems: due to their versatility, they can be displayed both printed and digital. For hotels, they can be added to posters, hotel rooms and even coasters. Not only are they a useful way to take payments, but they completely reinvent how customers interact with businesses.

For example, adding a QR code in a hotel room can allow a customer to order food in the room and then walk down to the restaurant when they receive a notification that it’s ready. Digital displays on television screens can encourage sign-ups and display up to date information.

QR codes make it easier for the hospitality industry to update policies, menus and customer information. They also allow businesses access to a treasure trove of data: at what time do people like to pay? What is the most popular payment channel? When is the best time to ask for a tip?

Pomelo Pay customers that use QR codes are able to take a big step towards better, more data-driven decisions.

Benefits of using QR codes in hospitality

Why is the QR code so appropriate for the hospitality industry specifically? Let’s look at four main benefits.

Shorter queues & waiting times

For those working in the service industry, QR codes turn many points of friction into a self-service activity. Instead of spending time taking orders or payments, servers can now focus on customer experience and delivering orders.

Pomelo Pay customers such as resorts in the Maldives and hotels like Hyatt have had immense success implementing QR codes: customers can now manage the services through their mobile phones, decreasing waiting times and increasing customer satisfaction. This translates into more customers, and therefore more revenue.  

Increased spending

scan qr code

Making orders and paying online allows customers to have autonomy over the process, which often leads to an increase in spending.

“Customers typically spend 15% more per order when ordering through a digital interface than a waiter or cashier”, Big Hospitality found. Without a member of staff looking over their shoulder, people are more likely to add that extra side and satisfy their cravings.

To understand how this works, it’s important to explain the difference between static and dynamic QR codes.

Static QR codes can be printed and displayed on a window shop, table or even a mug. Because of that, they can be scanned over and over and grant each customer access to the same information, for example, the menu.

Dynamic QR codes are unique and only displayed on a mobile device and can be used to take a payment on the spot.

Businesses that take advantage of static QR codes with Pomelo Pay can offer a more unified experience to their customers and allow them to complete the entire ordering process online. Not only is it faster and more convenient, but more hygienic.

This changes the traditional ordering process to:

  1. Sit at table
  2. Scan the QR code
  3. View the menu
  4. Order online (with their mobile device)
  5. Pay online

Even the BBC noted:

“Customers love it because they don’t have to wait. They can just pay and leave without asking for the bill”

You may like: Online Ordering Systems: What Are The Advantages of Using One?

Enhanced services

How often are you checking the reviews of restaurants, hotels and other hospitality venues before deciding on your destination? Over 93% of consumers rely on these tools to make a purchase.

Social proof is highly important for hospitality businesses, both new and established. But it’s often difficult to get your customers to take action and actually leave a review.

Luckily, QR codes gamify the experience, meaning it’s more attractive (and fun!) than ever for customers to write a positive review online for your business. With a QR code, you are essentially digitising the entire dining experience. Once your customers have completed their payment, it’s a lot easier to ask them to leave a review or feedback since they’re on their phone already.

Cheaper payments

QR code payments don’t require any additional hardware in order to accept payments. In fact, by partnering with Pomelo Pay, companies only need a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet to accept payments with dynamic QR codes.

This drastically reduces the cost of accepting payments. Instead of buying several card terminals, committing to monthly contracts or having to pay maintenance fees, companies in the hospitality industry can start accepting qr code payments right away with mobile devices.

Frictionless and safe experience

One of the modern-day advantages of QR technology is the lack of contact required. QR codes facilitate a seamless and frictionless experience that allow customers and members of staff to interact without raising safety concerns.

In fact, it’s why the NHS and other health industry leaders have adopted the technology in order to work remotely and harmlessly.

That’s because QR codes are also a much more efficient way of sharing information and digitising printed material. Instead of brochures and fixed notices in hotels, customers can get all the information they need by simply scanning a QR code and viewing it as digital content, which is a lot more convenient and easy to use.

For hotels and others in the hospitality industry, it’s also easier to update information. Hotels can easily send customers to a page where they have direct access to spa treatments, digital newspapers, restaurant menus and more.

Without the need for physical contact, QR codes are one of the most hygienic and safe ways to work. Even after lockdown, it’s clear that sanitary concerns will remain, which means that QR codes will be here to stay.

How QR codes are digitising payments

Before, businesses were the ones deciding how to take payments. But the world is changing: businesses of all sizes need to cater to international customers as well as start offering multiple touchpoints such as social commerce and click and collect.

As Simon Verraest, co-founder of Pomelo Pay says in our recent Opinion Series: “The customer may have specific reasons for choosing a certain payment method and there shouldn’t be any friction by merchants offering a multitude of options.

For example, someone might want to use their British Airways Amex for points or cashback, use a specific Visa Credit Card for purchase protection, or even use Alipay or WeChat Pay for a better forex rate.”

Instead of partnering with 5 different providers in order to offer multiple payment methods, merchants can simply use the handy QR code. The customer scans the QR code, and is taken to a separate page where they pick the payment method that suits them best.

QR codes are also easy to add to the payment flow. Instead of committing to monthly contracts or investing in outdated card machines, businesses can partner with a payment provider like Pomelo Pay and immediately start using QR codes.

Digital payments also open an opportunity to unique data insights. Simon talks about the value of having it “all in one place”:

By using an integrated system, you can get a snapshot at any time of the day, to see how your business is doing, where you can improve or track specific campaigns - these are really valuable insights for any business.”

rachel smith pomelo pay dashboard

By partnering with Pomelo Pay, merchants can offer a plethora of payment methods and only need to partner with one provider. We offer over 25 payment methods, including:

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • Alipay
  • WeChatPay
  • iDeal
  • Klarna
  • Bitpay
  • & many more!

Modern day customers want a seamless and contact-free experience, and QR codes are a first step towards offering a great customer experience in the hospitality industry. Businesses that offer modern day purchasing experiences will gain a competitive edge and enjoy lower fees as well as increased revenue.

Are you ready to get started with QR codes? Create a Pomelo Pay account for free!