Well, for the first time in nearly a year, it’s hot and sunny out so this post is going to contain a lot of video and less text:. Full disclosure: I’m heading to the lake.
I have worked in business related to hospitality and tourism now for nearly 15 years and the reason for that is that tourism is very closely related to theatre and storytelling. My degree and first career was in the theatre, specifically, as a director and designer, and I am often struck by the similarity between these two ‘arts’. Guests (audience) come to the place or property (theatre) and have a life-changing experience (the show). Some are better than others at the audience part, some better at the show, but the key to success in hospitality is being good at every part of production. And this now includes your online presentation. A guy who really understands that creativity is the fulcrum around which great travel experiences turn is Daniel Edward Craig. His latest post includes a video about how to engage travel shoppers through storytelling.Watch his interview on VFM here.
Another great Canadian who really ‘gets’ storytelling and the critical role it plays in tourism is Todd Lucier. There is so much information generated by Todd on this subject, I highly recommend bookmarking, following, and signing up for his RSS feed because he is a tremendous resource for any small business, whether you are in tourism or not, with regards to storytelling and new media. He recently interviewed some amazing travel bloggers and in that conversation they covered a lot of important terrain about travel blogging; I recommend pouring yourself a cup of coffee because you need to ‘get’ the power of travel bloggers because they are the expert storytellers in the travel biz. Listen here to what they have to say.
Lastly, I want to just include my friend and mentor, Nancy Arsenault and her recent post on Tourism Cafe where she talks about a company who took an innovative approach to recruitment by incorporating video of employees talking about their work as a way to recruit versus the old classified route. In tourism and hospitality, using rich media for recruitment is the best way to showcase who you are and attract the right talent for your organization. If you tell your story well, and your staff lives and breathes it, then it will resonate with your online audience on an emotional level. Check the VFM video of staff stories from Wildplay here.
Using stories, thinking creatively, crafting your presentation with quality content, will help support your online relationships with your customers by engaging with them emotionally and providing media that is entertaining, yes, entertaining because the days of simply uploading text and pictures are over. In this new media landscape, you have to hone your storytelling skills so your viewer is engaged. If you are wondering how to start, begin with your own story and what brought you into business, what influenced you, and what you hold dear to your heart. Unearth those seedlings of inspiration and grow them online. You’ll be amazed at what a little storytelling can do!