How to Grow Your Tour Company with Storytelling
Storytelling is one of the most effective and memorable ways of communicating your brand’s message to your target audience.
A great story that’s well-told can help you connect with readers, build your brand, and even increase conversion rates. This is because stories have been around since pre-historic times and have the capacity to stir emotions and grab people’s attention.
Storytelling is an effective marketing tool that can be used to grow your tour company and increase your sales. This is why in today’s article we are focusing on how to promote and grow your tour or activity company with storytelling.
We’ll begin by addressing why storytelling is important for tourism companies, steps to crafting a great story that drives sales, and conclude with a real-life example of great storytelling in marketing a tourism company.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
Table of Contents
- Why is storytelling important for tourism companies?
- 6 Steps to Craft a Great Story That Drives Sales
- Example of great storytelling in marketing a tourism brand
Why is storytelling important for tourism companies?
Storytelling makes you unique
There are so many tour operators and activity providers out there competing for the attention of tourists and travelers. One way to survive the crowded digital space is to make sure your company stands out.
Apart from having unique features, storytelling is one of the effective ways your marketing team can use to distinguish your brand from competitors. Crafting a moving brand story can make your voice heard above the noise that fills every consumer’s ears today.
Another way stories can distinguish your brand is by including them in your experiences. Instead of just pointing out the attractions during a trip, your tour guides can engage travelers using captivating stories of the indigenous people and popular events in that destination. This makes your tour experience more exciting and memorable.
Stories help build a deeper connection with your audience
Do you know that emotions are what really drive the purchasing decisions of customers? Most of us buy things based on how we ‘feel’ but later justify using logic.
This is an important concept to keep in mind when marketing your tour company. Appeal to your audience’s emotions in order to have a chance at getting them to book with you. This calls for connecting at a deeper level with your clients, and storytelling can help you do that.
A good story can pull at the heartstrings of your readers and move them to take action when you need them to.
When creating content for your company’s website or social media platforms, simply presenting a list of features and benefits may not trigger as much reaction from your audience. You need more than facts to get people talking about your brand, sharing, or liking your content.
Including stories of previous travelers’ experiences is the spark that can trigger a blazing interaction between your company and target audience.
Detailed anecdotes of the exciting experiences shared in your tours or photos and videos of the fun times tourists have at your activity park are a memorable way of portraying your brand’s benefits. This makes clients understand how your company can meet their needs and why they should book with you.
You can leverage this power of storytelling to get more sales and grow your tour company.
Storytelling makes customers trust your brand
An authentic story, whether it’s your brand’s narrative, stories of your customers’ experiences, or historic tales of your tour destinations, is a huge contributor to building trust with your customers.
Consumers crave a unique and honest experience with a brand and something they can relate to on a personal level. This makes them identify with your brand and want to buy from you as a result.
More to just building trust, storytelling can trigger brand loyalty among your clients. When they read your story, connect with you, then go ahead to experience a fantastic time at your tour or activity, these customers are more likely to leave positives reviews or recommend you to their friends or family.
Storytelling helps you sell without sounding “salesy”
When marketing a product or service to potential customers, there’s the tendency to want to take a “salesy” approach where you tell clients to “buy this because it’s the best on the market.” But that may not work as well as using a story.
Storytelling gives you an opportunity to talk about your offering and allow your listeners or readers to make the purchasing decision on their own. This has a higher success rate as most people are much happier making a purchase when they feel the decision was theirs and they weren’t coerced into buying something.
6 Steps to Craft a Great Story That Drives Sales
As we’ve seen so far, storytelling can give your company an opportunity to showcase your authenticity. You can engage with clients on a deeper level through your stories, show your uniqueness, build trust and loyalty, and ultimately increase your bottom line by getting more bookings.
So how do you craft a successful story that can result in these benefits? Let’s go through the steps to creating a great story:
1. Know your target audience
One of the crucial steps before weaving your story is understanding who your target audience is.
What age group are they in? What do they want? What are their pain points? How can you best solve their problems? On which platforms are they mostly found?
The importance of this step is to decide on the ideal tone of your narrative and the message that will best resonate with those travelers. The language you’ll use will also be determined by your target audience.
Let’s say your audience is mostly made up of younger folks, say millennials. That may call for a more casual tone. Are they into adventure? Do they prefer low budget tours as opposed to luxurious trips? The answers to these questions will advise the direction the message in your story will take.
2. Make your story relevant
As a tour operator, your brand’s story is almost as important as your tour destination. You cannot craft a story that’ll resonate with every person on Earth. But by focusing on your audience persona, your narrative can be as relevant to their needs and wants as you like.
This takes us right back to the first point on understanding your client base.
Apart from resonating with your audience, your story should also be relevant to your tour destination or activity. It should be able to accurately represent what your customers are bound to experience once they book with you.
The relevance of a story for a tourism brand is crucial – whether it’s your brand’s narrative on your website or the story your tour guides share with travelers offline during the trips.
3. Appeal to your audience’s emotions
A great way of triggering sales in any business is making people care about your product or service enough to want to have it. The same goes for tour and activity operators. If you can appeal to your audience’s emotions and pull on their heartstrings, then you’re more likely to make them pull out their wallets.
So, instead of focusing on “selling” your activity or tour, pay more attention to the travelers and tell them a story about your tour that will arouse positive emotions. Let your story create that connection with your audience and a sense of familiarity that can move them to act.
4. Be authentic
Be yourself. Stay true to your brand. Don’t steal other companies’ ideas with an aim to impress your audience.
This is what it means to be authentic.
People like authenticity and are more likely to buy your story when they get that sense of honesty and uniqueness oozing out of your carefully developed narrative.
By being authentic, your story will stand out and make your brand unique. This is one of the strategies that can set you apart from your competitors.
5. Use tension
Storytelling as a marketing strategy works on the same principles as telling a story in a movie or a book. Tension can be used to hold the audience’s attention and keep them engaged.
You can create tension by introducing conflict in your story. Conflict is something that prevents a character from reaching their goal of getting what they desire. By posing such an obstacle in your story, you can build anticipation in your audience as they wait to see how the character will overcome the challenge before them.
In the end, show how the character is able to reach their goal when they find your product or service.
A simple example is a worker who’s become less productive at their job because they are stressed and burnt out. They come across your tour company online and book a trip that offers such a great experience and helps them relax. This character eventually gets back to work all refreshed, rejuvenated, and with a whole lot of amazing memories.
6. Include powerful visual storytelling
In your storytelling strategy, including catchy visual storytelling can pump up your engagement even further. You already know that a picture is worth a thousand words, therefore including them on your website and social media pages is a great idea.
Even more effective is the use of videos. Here are some statistics that show just how powerful video marketing is:
- 84% of people admit that watching a brand’s video convinced them to buy a product or service
- 66% of consumers prefer learning about a product or service through watching a video rather than reading a text-based article
- More than half the consumers (53%) want to see more video content in the future.
Example of great storytelling in marketing a tourism brand
Now that you know the benefits of storytelling and learned the steps to crafting your own powerful story, let’s have a look at a real-life example to help you put all the pieces together.
Visit Faroe Islands has an about page that’s a great example of a captivating story.
Source: Screenshot (Visit Faroe Islands- About Page)
Though one may think of this as a really isolated destination in the North Atlantic Sea, the tour operator uses that to their advantage by painting it in a mysterious light, “Europe’s Best Kept Secret”. This is bound to spark some curiosity in the reader causing them to want to find out more about this place.
The copy includes emotionally-charged words to describe what travelers can experience when they visit the Faroe Islands. At some point, the challenge of “highly changeable weather” on the islands builds a bit of tension. This is well tackled by pointing out that the brand offers numerous experiences regardless of the weather conditions.
Apart from the website content, Visit Faroe Islands uses video storytelling in a lot of its campaigns, one of which is the “Closed for maintenance, open for voluntourism” campaign.
This campaign showcases an initiative that cleverly promotes both tourism and sustainability. It targets travelers that desire an authentic experience by passing a relevant message of an opportunity to work side by side with locals to carry out some maintenance projects on the island.
Storytelling is one of the most effective aspects of content marketing for tour operators and activity providers. Having a brand story helps foster a deeper connection with your audience, maintain engagement, and build customer trust and loyalty. Having a narrative also makes you stand out from your competition.
To be able to create a powerful story that drives sales for your tour company, here’s a recap of the steps to follow:
- Know your target audience.
- Appeal to their emotions.
- Tell a relevant story.
- Be authentic.
- Use tension and conflict in your story.
- Include images and videos.
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- How to Market a Tour Company for Free: 7 Big Platforms You Should be on
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- 8 Underestimated Tactics for Successful Tour Marketing
- Marketing Mix for Tour and Activity Operators