Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 11

FAST LANE | YOUR BUSINESS | Advice, News, and Discussion Topics

The Power of Storytelling
Inspire travel and transform your business by incorporating stories
that touch emotions

M

otorcoach and tour operators are experts at taking
groups to destinations. They
know how to navigate the
routes and manage the flow of people on
and off the bus. But aside from the logistics, if you aren't including storytelling on
your tours, you are missing a crucial step
in creating a memorable experience for
your guests.
In a crowded and competitive group tour
industry, storytelling will transform your
business and turn your guests into advocates who are posting five-star reviews.

PHOTO COURTESY OF LISTEN TECHNOLOGIES.

Tell Me a Story

In her article, "The Science Behind the
Art of Storytelling," psychologist and
professional storyteller Lani Peterson says,
"If you're trying to engage, influence, teach,
or inspire others, you should be telling or
listening to a story, and encouraging others
to tell a story with you. You'll have plenty of
science to back you up."
Storytelling does wondrous things to our
brains. Just ask any avid reader why they
loved the book they just finished-chances
are they'll tell you it's because of the way
the book made them feel when they read
it. Scientists are fascinated by this power
to evoke emotion through story (consider
the millions of fans of Game of Thrones or
Outlander, two award-winning television
dramas based on bestselling novels). Their
research proves that our brain chemistry
changes when we hear a story. We become
more engaged, trusting, receptive, and
much more likely to respond to ideas and
suggestions in a positive way.
On tours, storytelling creates a connection to a place, a community, history, and
even oneself. Authors have understood this
connection for centuries. Classics such as
A Tale of Two Cities, Pride and Prejudice,
and Romeo and Juliet have resonated
with people for generations, keeping their
hearts quivering with anticipation. Will he

"We see the
power of
storytelling on
every tour," says
Alfred Barone,
president of
City Sightseeing
Philadelphia, a
hop-on, hop-off
tour operator.

find his true love? Will the child be rescued?
Will the fire consume the whole town?
Likewise, you can put passengers "in the
story" by building anticipation rather than
simply offering a history lesson.

The Elements of a Story

"We see the power of storytelling on every
tour," says Alfred Barone, president of
City Sightseeing Philadelphia, a hop-on,
hop-off tour operator. "Our riders are
involved with the commentary, interacting with surprise and delight, and posting
on social media to share the experience.
The sound effects and music make the
stories come to life. Even our safety messages are more engaging."
Are you planning on taking a group to
Valley Forge National Historical Park
in King of Prussia, Pa.? While facts and
figures are important, it's the story of
triumph over adversity that your guests
will remember most about their tour. To
make sure your group connects with and
cheers for George Washington-or the
hero of any destination tour-include the
following elements in your story:
1.	A beginning, a middle, and an end.
At the start of your tour, introduce the
hero of your destination, explaining
what he/she/it is known for and
what makes them a hero. As the tour
progresses, develop that character

enough so that by the end, you've
proven to your customers why this
destination is one they will always
want to remember.
2.	Stories within the story. Each stop
along your route should have its own
hero. Reveal little-known facts about
who or what defines each point of
interest. Go beyond dates and facts;
delve deeper and surprise the listener.
3.	Overcoming obstacles. According
to Peterson, "Through story listening,
we gain new perspectives and a better
understanding of the world around
us." Your guests will connect with
and learn from a hero who has had
to overcome challenges, making the
tour memorable.
Adding these components of a story
to your commentary will engage your
customers, enhance your tour, and transform your business. It's easier than you
might think!
Sally Moore is marketing specialist, travel
and tourism for Listen Technologies. Her
eBook, Storytelling for Tours, is available
for free download at audioconexus.com.
Listen Technologies is a wireless audio
manufacturer that provides solutions for
assistive listening, multilingual audio
transmission, and guided or self-guided tour
groups and conferences.
SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2020

\ DESTINATIONS 11


http://www.audioconexus.com

Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020

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