Travel marketing: Before you put a QR code in your next travel ad, read this.

According to Forrester, only 5% of Americans surveyed actually scanned a QR code.

QR codes are showing up in all sorts of travel ads, but are they effective?

According to a Forrester Research, only 14 million Americans scanned QR codes in a recent 3-month period.

Their research found that only 5% of Americans who own mobile phones actually used the 2-D codes in a recent 3-month period.

And the majority of those 14 million early adopters were young, affluent males.

Ad Age recently interviewed some experts in the field and reported three reasons that QR codes haven’t caught on:

  1. People are confused about how to use them.
  2. There’s little uniformity among the apps that read them.
  3. Many of the codes link to useless information or to the company’s website.

Melissa Parish, Forrester’s senior analyst-social and mobile marketing had this to say:

QR codes are “another instance of shiny-object syndrome.  Something becomes trendy or sexy, and marketers feel they have to jump onboard to position themselves as innovative and make sure they don’t fall behind.”

If you want to increase the likelihood of prospective guests scanning your QR code consider the following:

  • Make the content you link the QR code to rewarding and valuable.
  • Make sure your QR code is readable.
  • Don’t post codes on billboards in areas with no internet access or poor cell phone coverage like subways or in-flight magazines.

For examples of how not to use QR codes, check out QR Blaster’s list of the worst campaigns of the year using QR codes.

And while you’re’ at it, tell us how you’ve used QR codes effectively. Or if you’re really brave, tell us how they haven’t worked for you.

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