The ancient art of storytelling dates back to before recorded history often by traveling bards. Back then, story telling brought both news and entertainment to far flung locations. Today's walking tour guide engages in the art of storytelling to "wow" audiences for entertainment or enlightenment. This post looks at why the art of storytelling is such an important part of a tour guide's business. In addition, we look at how walking tour software can be "part of the art" to get more bookings.
As defined by Wikipedia, storytelling is "the conveying of events in words, images, and sounds, often by improvisation."
Everyday, across the country, hard working tour guides are doing exactly that for fun and profit. The skill of story telling is part and parcel of the business of walking tours - but why?
When Jonathan Gottschall’s book The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human (video above) was published last year, it shed new, empirical light on the Art of storytelling:
Only humans tell stories. Story sets us apart. For humans, story is like gravity: a field of force that surrounds us and influences all of our movements. But, like gravity, story is so omnipresent that we are hardly aware of how it shapes our lives. I wanted to know what science could tell us about humanity's strange, ardent love affair with story.
Storytelling for businesses has only been recently recognized as the "hot" new thing. But tour guides have known about the business benefits of good storytelling long before social media (or the Internet for matter).
Recently, columnist Taryn Plumb wrote of the connection between storytelling and the business of walking tours in Walking tours tell local lore, history. Plumb validates how tour guides are storytellers by describing their value:
The goal of walking tours is to improve our connections with the world around us — and area residents have a variety of illuminating treks to choose from this spring and summer...Many people love to hear about the stories of the town they live in. The stories engage us, make us proud of where we live, and help us understand that we too are part of history.
Storytelling is the center appeal of a walking tour for tour participants and that is what keeps them coming back for more...
The walking tour guide's central role as storyteller is actually the "2nd chapter" in a larger narrative. That larger narrative is the end-to-end, business process of a walking tour, as operated by the guide, and experienced by the guest.
Truly the domain the walking tour software used, the reservation "chapter" of the business narrative takes the spotlight early on. It begins with the arrival of a customer to your walking tour website which provides the first opportunity to begin your storytelling.
Savvy walking tour guides know this and add exciting and descriptive text, pictures and slide shows and supporting video that help customers anticipate your walking tours. ThunderTix users know that a walking tour software must support all types of content so they can match compelling imagery and stories to the tour's theme.
Note that the online reservation process can be as whimsical or as "dark" as the tour itself, and such attention to detail may mean the difference between a mere two bookings and ten ("Wow, I am going to book the entire group for this tour, not just us two!").
As defined earlier, once reservations are made and guest arrive, you'll want to expedite the process of getting the tour underway. ThunderTix walking tour software offers Android and iOS apps to quickly scan guests in, so the "story telling and improvisation" quickly begins in earnest.
Once another fun tour has concluded, the experience for the tour guests doesn't necessarily end. The walking tour software used by the guide will have collected the all important contact information when reservations are made.
This last chapter of the story is often under appreciated. You've collected a lot of customer data, and now it's time to take advantage of it. All guest contact information is collected in your own private database and CRM for follow-up bookings and marketing campaigns.
ThunderTix provides an opportunity to connect with your clients using a tailored post-event email. Our automated process allows you to send a message with request to learn about your customer's experience. You can create a survey of important questions. What was the favorite aspect of the walking tour? What was the least? Would they like to post their experience on Trip Advisor? If so, we'll include a link!
Surveys help you learn what is working and what areas need improvement. And our automation means you focus on what matters -- the art of the story telling -- rather than administrative tasks. Walk tour software is not simply about making reservations and checking guests in. Helping your operation run smoothly while feeing up time should be a hallmark of your chosen software.
It is said what separates conversation from storytelling is that people want to hear the same story told to them time and time again (like how children want to here the same bedtime story). A good story well told will draw the same tour guests back for more when it is convenient for them - but they'll need a reminder! That is why so many successful walking tour guides use online reservation software that has robust tools for managing customer contact information and purchase history.
Your private database and CRM allows you to perform quick searches of past attendees and send tailored email blasts to bring them back again. With ThunderTix, you have complete control over coupons and promotions. Include promotions in your automated emails to reward customers while tracking effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
And in another automation first for walking tour software, our loyalty program lets you define the criteria for customer purchases that automatically emails gift cards (created in ThunderTix) or coupons to continue the cycle and let the story telling continue.
The Art of storytelling isn't the only chapter in the business narrative of running a tour company. The larger arc of the experience begins, and ends, with your choice in walking tour software - So, are you using the right one?
The ThunderTix plan for walking tours has robust tools to make the reservation process as rich as an experience as the tour itself. We help you add vivid imagery and descriptive text that encourages your customers to book your tour. Should you desire, increase revenue per order with with automatically applied group discount. This encourages a small party to include their friend group and add to the bottom line. You tailor the online reservation experience, once, and then we'll do the rest.
After the tour is over, a ThunderTix account will have all that important contact information and order history ready for your use. You can run a quick daily sales report or sophisticated combinations of data sets. Of course, all data can be exported to popular accounting programs or spreadsheets for further analysis.