Tech Savvy Innkeeper

So you decide you want to offer an online discount and broadcast it via Twitter and Facebook, rather than post it on your website for everyone; this should offer some insight into just how much interest you create from your Social Media followers and track your ROI. You decide to use a QR code embedded with the information. We could take this one step further and assume we (someone more tech savvy than myself) could integrate the QR code into the reservation system. 

A very interesting question just came up from one of my current aspiring innkeeper buyers on the subject: "I wonder what's the easiest way of tracking and logging responses?"...

We all want to know where our business comes from and what means of advertising is most successful. So let's think about this - you could obviously track them manually (which is not a bad idea, any tracking is better than no tracking). For the tech savvy traveler using a Smartphone, you could create the coupon with a QR code and track the downloads. You could provide the QR code at the time they mention the code to ensure it wasn't downloaded and just not used. Or ask them to email the code (image file) back to you to complete the reservation. Any way I consider it, there's some degree of manual tracking. 

Below are four codes generated with Zxing Project; two for Facebook, two for Twitter. The two left codes (Zxing) allow the scanner to capture the code as I've embedded as text. But Zxing doesn't provide tracking. does. So I've then taken the url from the codes below and shortened them in as shown in the two right codes. This would allow me to track the number of scan downloads. However, when I create the QR code in, the embedded text doesn't appear, so the user can't read anything, only the scanner can "read". On my end, I can "read" the embedded text through my account in, but that to me doesn't seem as user friendly as providing the code for the user.

If anyone can think of a way to completely automate this, I'm all ears! In the meantime, I'm going to think about how this could be accomplished...

Quite frequently now I am seeing hotels, large and small, offering discounts "mention Twitter code #abc123". I've recently tweeted "anyone recommend a Boston area hotel/inn under $200?" and several area lodging establishments tweeted me directly with offers and discount codes not available on their websites. This enables the establishment to know exactly where their business is coming from. You can't ask for a more convenient and free method of advertising providing the capability of tracking your ROI. If you don't want to publicly offer discount rates on your website, this is a way to be selective when you see the demand pop up on your Twitter stream. Set up a column for relevant key phrases pertaining to your business and location and watch that stream for that opportunity. From Hootsuite (or your preferred Twitter client) post it to Twitter and Facebook. But I'd create one for Twitter and one for Facebook, enabling you track the ROI from each, separately.