Storytelling is a part of the human nature. We are all naturally drawn to a good story in movies, books or just everyday talks. Now this is one of the most used marketing strategies, especially in tour and travel business.
Continue reading if you want to know how tour operators use storytelling to attract tourists and travelers, and – to get them to book their tours!
A good story can be told in different ways. Whether it’s through photos or videos on your websites and social media, whether it’s the talking that tour guides do.
Tour businesses with websites that tell a story can often engage travelers. And they all play on something that evokes human emotion. Storytelling with visual elements creates something that humans want to interact with.
There are a few things you should first pay attention to:
As a tour operator, it’s important to know who you’re talking to. This should help you determine the length of the story and what language to use. Always know who your target market is and what your travelers want. It’s not the same if they are more interested in adventure, low budget tours, as opposed to luxurious experiences.
You’ll have to know are your travelers Millennials or Baby Boomers. As Brett Tollman, CEO of The Travel Corporation, admits, millennial consumers require a deeper level of connection in order to engage with the packaged tour sector.
To build that relationship with young travelers, The Travel Corporation is turning to deeper narrative storytelling. Read How to Attract More Millennial Travelers to Your Tour Business for a deeper insight.
Also, to set the right tone, you need to have in mind on which social media platform you’re going to publish your content.
Make your audience care. It has to be about something relevant to them to make them interested and feel connected to what you’re telling them. Travelers seek authentic experiences. The emotion is what makes your travelers really buy into something.
Tour providers use storytelling to inform their clients about the location/country, tour guides, cuisine and specific customs and culture. This is what you’re passionate about and care for the most! Use that emotion to convey the sense of your love to your destination. Make them feel what you feel by including the anecdotes from your tours, legends, and myths, the activities available to them. Put in some great visuals, photos and videos made by you, for an instant transmission into your beautiful reality! The fact that they may not be perfect is just what transmits the feeling of a perfectly authentic experience they’re into.
If you offer your clients a good story, they will gladly share it with their friends and family.
When selling experiences, word of mouth is one of the most important marketing channels. Good reviews, whether online or offline are, as you probably know, truly powerful.
But be true. Avoid over promising your tours. Finally, make it easy and engaging for customers to share the experience they had with you.
Include social sharing buttons after each article you publish on your website – support articles with pictures or a video. Always and regularly share and link such content on social media. Ask them to share if they like what they see/read!
It could be more profitable in the long run for tour operators to give photos and videos of the tour away for free.
Tour operators should recognize the value of their customers sharing photos on their social media. And take the customer interaction one step further and ask them to share their extraordinary tour story using your specific hashtag. Read more about social media and travelers here – Tour Providers’ Social Media Goals – Connecting With Travelers.
Demand for visual content is on the rise and the trend will likely continue. As much as people like hearing stories, they want you to show, especially when booking a trip. This trend is especially true in the adventure travel industry, where images are key to giving travelers a preview of destinations and tours.
“Visual storytelling in adventure tourism is crucial,” explains the ATTA’s Marketing Manager, Murray Bartholomew. “It’s one of the most important pieces in trying to get people interested in a region.“
You know what they say – a picture is worth a 1000 words. And video even more. Don’t worry, we got you covered on that territory as well: How to Make Remarkable Photos of Your Tour & Best Promotional Tool for Tour Operators – VIDEO!
To paraphrase Seth Godin: Your people (employees), your product and your service are all part of the story. That’s why storytelling is so important. And it’s obvious that the tour guides are essential when it comes to this.
We already wrote about tour guides in detail – What Important Tour Guide Traits Appeal Best to Travelers? The key part of their job is storytelling. Having the knowledge of a local is truly an asset when it comes to tour guide traits. Guides provide information about the area, including facts that may be of interest to the group. Which means, they should get to know the group. A great storyteller will make any story sound like it’s their own.
Tour guides engage their customers, make them connect. And when they connect – they empathize, they feel.
Tour operators use storytelling to raise curiosity. As soon as your audience have no questions or they predict what is happening next, your guests will tune out and move on. Include interesting characters and create tension to intrigue them as much as you can. Tell a funny story of a colleague tour guide, a guest, tourist… You have so many. Tell a story when you managed to overcome a difficulty on one of your tours – everyone loves a happy ending. There’s a legend related to a location near? Wow, who wouldn’t want to hear it? It’s common for many tour guides to think that they have to memorize every word, but it is not necessary. Just prepare yourself if you need to.
You can even use gossip and secrets to captivate your guests.
Also, turn the storytelling into a game – make them guess the ending and perhaps include the prize for the big questions. It will make the experience more exciting for them!
Remember, great stories make for great tours. That’s why tour operators use storytelling.
Focus on giving people what they want to see or hear. Not by lying, but by positioning and putting in their face what’s really important for them and just tell a story.
Stories motivate people. Stories make ideas stick. They help persuade people. So, tour operators use storytelling to help them with that – which inevitably leads to more bookings.
Reach out to us if you’d appreciate some help! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us or share it right here.
Finally, if you liked this article, share the love with your colleagues!
on January 13, 2017
by Daria Keršić
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