Storytelling and Tourism Marketing: Why It Is Important and How to Tell Great Stories
The tourism industry lends itself SO well to storytelling.
When our potential customers are in the research phase, they are essentially looking for some way to connect with a certain brand. Once the “traditional” decision-making factors such as location, price, and compatibility with guest type are met, the researcher’s buying process subconsciously moves into the “emotional connection” mode.
Seth Godin said, “People do not buy goods and services, they buy relations, stories and magic”.
Stories play an essential role in revealing our uniqueness. Our brains are hardwired to prefer them, and they provide the perfect way to connect us emotionally.
What do we actually mean by storytelling?
Of course, storytelling can refer to when child tells tales on another, or embellished fables filled with fairies, gnomes, and other fictional characters. This is not what we mean when talking about storytelling from a marketing content perspective, though the element of magic and curiosity work well when storytelling to people of any age.
From a marketing perspective, telling a great story means conveying and interpreting experiences in a way that is engaging and interesting to the person who reads it.
Each story becomes a building block that ultimately showcases “why” you do what you do, what your business is all about, how you serve your customers, and the great experiences they will have when they book with you.
The first tricky bit is defining what your stories should be about.
The best place to start is by looking at what your past customers have shared on social. What your customers consider worthy of posting to the world will give you valuable insights.
They are essentially already telling your stories.
You cannot go wrong by looking into and leveraging what your customers have already been saying about you.
Now you have an idea of what your customers are sharing, it’s time to look internally.
It is a fact that you simply cannot be appealing as a brand, service, or product if you don’t offer appealing experiences.
What are yours? What makes you different?
To get this absolutely right, you need to start by understanding your “why”, what is your Unique Value Proposition. You need to answer the question of why should a customer choose you over someone else’s business?
This (and a whole lot more) is covered in my most popular coaching programme, Amplify Hotel Marketing, teaches you exactly how to define your UVP. Once you have it nailed, your whole marketing content and strategy will flow from this.
Next, think about who your customers are and where they do their research.
Most research phase planning happens online. Everyone consumes and absorbs information in different ways, and even though we may have a preferred format, we are also stimulated by repetition when it does not seem, well, repetitive.
The point here is that while one single piece of content can be successful enough to arouse interest and to create that initial emotional connection, by presenting that same content in a different way only serves to consolidate the message further.
The way to do this is by taking one piece of content and reveal pieces of the experience in different formats.
Start with a blog post that covers the whole story. It will stay accessible forever and its unique URL can be referred back to and shared again and again.
Next, separate out an image, a quote, and better still create a series of short videos from the original text. Share them as traditional social media posts, or as Facebook Stories, Instagram Reels or Tik Tok shorts. Any text that accompanies these posts can direct the customer back to the original blog, and that blog should have the perfect call to action towards the end that takes them seamlessly through to purchase the product or service that has captured their imagination.
It isn’t rocket science, but it does require a content marketing plan.
The two biggest objections I hear from business owners about getting started are:
1) I don’t have time to create stories, and
2) I am a terrible writer!
The good news is that both of these can be overcome!
How much time are you spending right now on your marketing?
You are probably already posting on social, right? How much time are you already spending on it?
Is there a strategy behind the content you post?
Many business owners spend too much time wondering what to post, that culminates in posting something just for the sake of it, and not something that has been intentionally created.
Getting intentional with your marketing content is one of THE best ways to stand out from the crowd. Content that has been posted purely to get something out there is just not going to cut it anymore.
Yes, amazing images are great sellers, but imagine the power they have when they are connected to an engaging story too!
Repurpose the time you already spend on social and get more intentional with your content. You will find that this actually streamlines the process and allows you to work to a plan. That alone saves time.
As for being a bad writer… it is a fair objection, but anyone can learn how to write a blog. They have an anatomy, a structure to follow, and they don’t have to be super long! Once upon a time, blog posts were expected to have 2000 words… not any longer.
My insider info here is that blog posts should be as long as it takes to get your point across. That’s it!
If you can engage a reader and transport them to imagine how they would feel having that experience in 250 words, that’s awesome! Add in some great images and you have a blog post!
The benefits of incorporating storytelling into your marketing strategy are many.
You engage customers and also other partners who will begin to want to share your content too.
You get to educate your customers about your destination while at the same time building that all-important know, like and trust factor.
As you get great at this, you will start to look for local partnerships to write about that leads to increased dialogue and supply chain collaboration in your local area.
And the last great reason is the Google loves it when you post new content regularly!
To find out much more about getting serious with your content marketing strategy, take a look at my Amplify Hotel Marketing coaching programme where we will tailor your needs to what I know you need to know in each session.
The way you present your business to the world is the backbone of your success. Integrating storytelling into your content marketing strategy is the perfect way to encourage your potential customers to connect with you and ultimately to click on that Buy Now button.
Questions about the content creation course? Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or scroll right down to the bottom of the page to leave a comment.
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