Event planners should be aware of QR codes. Why? Imagine something that looks kind of like a pixelated bar code that can be printed and applied virtually anywhere. With a smart phone and a reader application your attendees and prospective attendees can scan the QR code directly from their cell phones. When scanned, readers can be taken to a website URL, sent a text SMS, sent a phone number or provided with additional text. The WOW is that attendees can get more information about anything that interests them about your event…anytime and anywhere from the convenience of their cell phones.
QR codes were originally created by Denso-Wave (a Japanese firm) back in 1994. The idea was to create a code that contained more data than the standard 10-digit bar code yet could also be decoded at very high speed. Although QR codes have been around for quite some time, they’re re-gaining a lot of buzz in large part because of mobile technology.
8 ideas for event planners
Build a better print ad – Why not include a QR code in your event’s print ad? This way people who are on-the-go can simply scan your code from their cell phone to be taken directly to your event registration page.
Create a contest – At Mobile World Congress, Neustar will be pairing up with Visa to showcase the power of QR codes. Using their smart phones, event attendees are encouraged to download a barcode reader application. As part of their Welcome Packets, attendees will receive a faux Visa gift card, and will be invited to scan the QR barcode on the back each day to enter a contest to win a €50 gift card. One gift card will be given away every 30 minutes between 10am and 4pm on each day of the show.
Make networking easier – UK Museums recognized the challenge with sharing business cards at events. They’re annoying to carry around, they require you to write on them to ensure you remember who gave you the card, and once you get back to the office, you have to re-key in all the information. To help their conference attendees overcome these annoyances, they added QR codes into registration badges. Attendees could scan their contact’s badge QR code with their cell phone and download their contact information. To learn more about how UK Museums did this, click here.
Get people discovering - Google IO employed QR codes at their Developer Conference by encouraging attendees to scan everything in sight. They scattered various types of codes all around the conference facility and every time a QR code was scanned, the attendee would rack up points. The top 3 highest scorers at the end of the conference got to take home some swanky Google swag from the event.
Make learning about sponsors easier – Sure, we recognize sponsors with prominent signage. But think of how much more valuable sponsorship could be if attendees could scan a QR code on their cell phone and be connected with sponsor websites, exclusive deals or more information on the company.
Make registration a breeze - Check out this fantastic idea over at Nofont on How to Build a Better Conference Experience. In it Jaan Orvet writes about how QR codes could make registration lines obsolete, allow attendees to get ahold of the presentation copies they’re looking for and make getting around a foreign city much easier for the attendee.
A new take on the Scavenger Hunt – Instead of paper clues, have participants search for QR codes. When they scan one, they’re sent a text with their next clue.
Info-rich T-shirts – Have conference employees walking around with t-shirts that say things like: Tickets to the gala almost sold out (with a QR code that will take attendees to the registration page on the back of the shirt), Want to know where the bathrooms are? (with a QR code that will take attendees to washroom directions), Vote for your favorite tradeshow booth (with a QR code that will take attendees to a voting page), etc.
Build a better presentation – How many times as a presenter have you been asked to share or repeat a website URL? Make it easy for attendees to simply scan a QR code from your presentation to be taken to the website directly.
Temporary tattoos – Want to get people networking? Create temporary QR code tattoos for attendees. Let them know that 1 other person in the room shares an identical code and have them find their matching partner.
Get your QR Code
Generate your own QR codes using Kaywa (or Google search “Generate QR Codes” for a ton of options)
Download a reader like ScanLife on your smartphone
Other great ideas (updated frequently)
QR codes for tracing bicycles via Springwise
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