Toerisme Limburg (www.toerismelimburg.be) is a regional tourist organization in the eastern part of Belgium, close to the Netherlands and Germany. Since 2012 they’ve distributed two types of printed holiday coupon cards, also referred to as ‘passes’. One pass is for visitors that stay overnight in Limburg and the other is for tourists that come for just one day. With these passes, tourists can get discounts at several attractions.
With 20 merchants participating in the program, each with different discounts, specific terms and a variety of POS systems, Toerisme Limburg was faced with a significant logistics challenge. To expedite redemptions, they wanted to use scannable barcodes. To do this with 20 different cards, each with a unique pass ID would be impractical. Another problem they encountered was tracking redemptions so they could gauge the program’s effectiveness and generate data to improve future programs.
Toerisme Limburg’s manager of new media, Philippe Marcisz, decided the only practical way to uniquely identify passes would be to use a single, unique ID for each pass that would be redeemable at any merchant location.
With the low cost and widespread proliferation of smartphones and tablets, he felt the scanning process should be deployed using an app independent of the various merchant POS systems. The merchant would scan the pass’s barcode and the app post scan records in real-time to a user-facing Web service.
To inform tourists about each merchant’s discount and their related terms, Toerisme Limburg had pocket-size booklet printed and distributed with each pass. They also created mobile-ready Web pages for convenient viewing at any time. He chose QR codes as the barcode type because they could not only embed the pass ID but also enable scanning with the consumer’s own QR app.
Toerisme Limburg selected the codeREADr enterprise barcode scanning app and SaaS platform for deploying the scanning process (https://codereadr.com). They chose the platform’s One ID, Any Merchant technology to manage multiple locations and multiple discounts with a single pass ID.
Each merchant is given a unique username and password to sign into the app. Once signed in they choose which pass to scan (e.g. an overnight or one-day pass). They scan the QR code to validate the pass ID against a cloud-based database consisting of the 230,000 distributed passes. The resulting scan record is posted to the cloud for Toerisme Limburg to track in real-time and generate reports.
CodeREADr’s Dual Function QR Code technology was used to enable one QR code to be used both by consumers to view pass details online and for the codeREADr app to validate pass IDs against the pass database. By using only one QR code for both functions, there is no confusion and the card can have a clean look.
“We needed one ID validated by multiple merchants with different discounts and be able to track the data. Critically, the process had to be really efficient and easy to use. Although we are managing the project, each merchant location is responsible for the scanning process. With the codeREADr app they only have to make sure their smartphone or tablet is ready, sign in to app and start scanning,” said Marcisz.
The program kicks off for the 2014 holiday season in April.
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