Yesterday I had the privilege of leading a workshop with the Reserve Managers of the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency. It was so good to feel the hunger for knowledge and the determination to take action when they returned to their Game Reserves.
The workshop was The Tourism Coach session called ‘Creating tourism experiences.’ These experiences are the element that drives our guests to share their experiences on social media and rate them on sites like TripAdvisor.
It got me thinking about the opportunity that we are missing by not creating a common story for our destinations. A destination where all departments and products buy into this destination story results in a massive increase in our destination brand and our visitor numbers. It’s like a common vision on steroids!
So here are the first questions that you should ask in the first steps of formulating our destination or product story:
- What makes us special (people, places, stories, traditions, activities)?
- What do visitors currently post, take photos of?
- What are our destination’s hidden gems?
- What unique authentic local features can be engaged in hands-on?
- What memories do we want our visitors to leave with, what emotional connections?
- How can the experience be personalised?
This should be done as a parallel process in discovering our destination’s DNA. This involves social media listening (with software like Hootsuite), and understanding what our current visitors enjoy when they are with us. As with humans, the DNA is the unique characteristics that make us different from others and will be the basis of our vision and our story.
So, get out of your comfort zone and start this process. It will contribute to the growth of your future tourism numbers and future-proof you as the disruption in our industry accelerates.
Should you be interested in the ‘Creating tourism experiences’ workshop, you can click here to find out more.
To sum up, consider this industry quote: The things that make your destination attractive – the people, communities, food, nature – are the sources of your story ideas, and you just need a few key ingredients to turn those ideas into engaging, memorable stories.
More on stories in future blogs.