Do you remember the last advertisement you saw? What about the last description of a product you like. More than likely you don’t, because you shouldn’t have to. People are busy, we don’t have time and we’re trained to ignore and forget things that are not important. But what if I told you there was a cheat code? A way to break through to a customer and make them believe what you’re saying is important. That cheat code is known as story-telling. You could easily attract more tourists with story telling.
Think about it. You remember most of the stories you’ve heard from The Lion King to The Great Gatsby. You probably even remember The Hangover (yes, even the 3rd one) because no matter how bad they may be, humans are naturally programmed to remember stories. Many stories have been passed through generations for hundreds of years. Why?
Because stories are sticky. So if you want your message to stick, you’re going to have to build your messages into stories.
The most important element of a story is emotion. The story needs to appeal to the reader’s emotions, people won’t remember the words you say but they’ll remember the way those words make them feel. For example, If you run tours to ex-prison sites, appeal to the reader’s sadness, talk about the cruelties that happened at the site. If you run an amusement park, appeal to their happiness. You could use photos of other customers enjoying the activity as a part of your story.
Every story needs a hero. You’ve gotta find the hero. You could make your brand the hero, show them what makes you different, why they should pick you. What struggles has your business overcome? Has it been with the family for generations?
You could also make the customer the hero. Bring them on a journey, that’s what AirBNB does, they’re all about travelling and taking a journey through a country rather than visiting a country. You could even build superhero packages. Here’s an example:
Ever wondered how superheroes feel while flying through the clouds? Stop wondering, because now you can feel it too. Book our hero package now which includes:
Companies in Japan take it a step further, creating activities like Ninja School and Samurai School. They even offer to film hollywood grade fight scenes with customers as the movie leads.
This one is often overlooked. The truth is, people enjoy different stories and you need to build your narratives around your customers. Think about how different a Baby Boomer and a Millennial might portray a protagonist.
A Millennial may portray a hero as someone who swoops down from the sky and saves the day. In which case you’d want to build an action-packed adventure and narrative as done by Japan’s Ninja Schools.
A Baby Boomer on the other hand, may portray a hero as a loving parent who gives up everything for the good of their children. In which case you’d want to build family-friendly packages and build narratives around children and their parents. For example, you could use photos of children hugging their parents, hinting at their children’s appreciation.
A story is essentially a guide for imagination. The goal of the story is for your potential customers to imagine themselves already at your tour or activities. Photos and videos are a great way to help with the imagination. It’s much easier to picture yourself there when you’ve seen an example of the scene.
Great, now you know the key to attract tourists with story telling. You’ve also written your story, now what?
Almost all of your potential customers would likely have come in contact with your website at some point. Which is why it is extremely important that they’re exposed to your story when they’re on the website. Only people with at least some level of interest would be visiting your site, building an emotional connection here would be a great way of pushing them over the line.
You might be asking “Why bother? These customers have already booked.” Building narratives into your confirmation emails are a great way of getting your customers excited, and what do excited people do? They tell their friends or make emotional decisions. Yes, that’s right, it’s an opportunity to upsell!
More and more people are jumping onto social media, they’re also spending a longer time on social media. It’s highly likely that this will be a potential customer’s first exposure to your brand. If you want to be remembered, tell your story. When they come across you again, that familiarity will more than likely push them to choose you over your competitors.