When people think about storytelling in the hospitality & travel space, they often think about oral or written storytelling. For example, an anecdote told on a tour, or a hotel property that showcases historical photos. But stories can be told in a multitude of ways, ranging from the explicit to the implicit, from the tangible to the intangible. Today, we're exploring the three levels of story that we work with clients on.
With our approach, stories lift people up out of their mundane everyday life and give them an inspiring narrative to become a part of. After all, a story in its purest form is a tale of a journey. Its most essential elements are:
(1) The narrative arc
(2) A central theme or message
(3) Tension/rising action with peak moments
Can you imagine any of your favorite movies or books without these three elements? Without them, stories would be dull, failing to hold our attention. And the same can be said for experiences. Without these three elements, an experience lacks excitement and purpose.
This is why at The Storied Experience, we use these story strategies to create meaningful concepts and moments for our clients. It’s less about retelling stories in traditional ways, and more about bringing the elements of an immersive journey to life in a concrete way.
The power of stories lie in their ability to ignite emotional energy, stretch people’s minds, and empower change. This is why we focus on story-doing, a multi-sensory method to story. Where storytelling in marketing has the tendency to overpromise, storydoing says “don’t talk about it, be about it”. And brands that approach story this way see 30% faster growth while spending less on media and gaining more revenue.
Creating Storied Concepts
A narrative-driven concept invites guests into a journey. No longer is a hotel just a hotel, no longer is a vacation just a vacation. The story will transport guests into a new world where they can be swept away to new heights & new potentials. We create concepts that put the story spotlight on your guests and their yearning for adventure. The intangible concept is what drives each tangible moment, so it’s essential that the concept be thoughtfully theorized with the guests’ desires in mind.
Creating Storied Touchpoints
The physical, sensorial surroundings serve to reinforce your story. What are people seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching to immerse them deeper into the journey? Are the spaces that people are moving through reinforcing the theme & message established by the concept? We believe in making each sensory detail more interactive for guests, driving the storyline in engaging and meaningful ways.
Creating Storied Experiences
The level of story deepens as we get into activities and experiences. Not only must these align with the overarching narrative established in the concept, but there are also so many opportunities to use storytelling within each moment. Using words, imagery, symbols, music, movement, and more creative story mediums are essential for memorable experience design. Each activity is an opportunity to move your guests along the journey, helping them make progress towards their desires.
Ask yourself: would your guests rather hear a story, or be immersed into one? The latter is more valuable when done creatively and with your guests' desires in mind! It’s not enough for us to be observers, we want to experience these things for ourselves. So, what is the story that you're inviting guests to step into? What stories are your guests coming away with that drive high levels of word-of-mouth and compelling five-star reviews? Don't sleep on story - it's the most powerful tool in your arsenal.