Isn’t it true that you always want to know the story of the destination you visit? I want to know where the restaurant’s name came from, where the photos on the wall were taken and who the old “tannie” was who’s recipe is used in the signature dish.
We all want to know.
One place that got the message loud and clear is OJ’s, a small, quaint restaurant that could easily be mistaken for a take-away shop on route through one of the Freestate towns, Heilbron. From the outside it doesn’t promise much, but believe you me, on the inside it’s a completely different story – literally.
Do you remember the time when all South African cars had yellow coloured number plates? The time when towns could still be identified just by looking at one’s car? Well, that is where OJ’s’ story begins. OJ was Heilbron’s number plate code. Today these number plates are part of the name and décor in one of Heilbron’s finest restaurants. It tells stories of days gone by and paintings of old cars with OJ number plates hang proudly against the walls. The menu has also been carefully planned – catering for the farming community that it is, but also for those who appreciate that extra touch. Still, the community can identify with its story, which is why many of them will keep coming back.
Tips on how to tell your story:
- Use the town’s history as a theme and a timeline.
- Involve the community.
- Be creative and use old things to create new things.
- Include the theme in your décor, your name and your menu items.
- Add items to the menu which you know the community will enjoy and then just give it an extra touch to make it look more appealing.
So…what is your restaurant or destination’s story?
People have been fond of stories for centuries. They can identify with it. Stories have been told over the years in order to explain, educate and entertain. Back then, people and children could sit and listen to the stories that were told. Today stories need to include visual content in order to draw attention.
Isn’t this ideal for a guesthouse, hotel or restaurant? Many of these destinations have some kind of history to share, a great view, some unique dishes or a reputation for the best service in town. Why not share this story with the public in the form of stories and images? It is such a great tool for content creation and really not difficult.
Ways to do it:
- Create a story book for kids that tells the story of your destination and what the readers will be able to see here.
- Share tidbits of your story on social media with photos of way back when…
- Create videos of the happenings at your destination.
- Teach your staff about your story and encourage them to share it with guests.
- Have annual concerts or performances at your destination and tell your story through plays and music.
These are but a few of the millions of creative ideas you can use to tell your story. An exciting exercise for anyone who likes to explore new, creative opportunities.
Need some assistance on how to kick off your storytelling campaign? Contact Travelling Mystery Guest on 082 336 1562 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nowadays, with people being on the move, telling your story with words might be quite challenging, as people don’t have time to read. How can you tell your story, capture their attention and have them understand what you are all about?
Sharing Content (Photo by: Marda de Villiers)
- Tell your story visually – people like looking at and sharing images. Use platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube and Facebook, as well as photo blogs. With the typical guest using a dozen different touch points to research their trips, you want your story to be visible on as many platforms as possible.
- Combine your hotel’s story with an educational tour around the resort or establishment or an art class that interconnects with your story (tourists prefer interactive and educational experiences these days).
- Have your audience take part in your story and take photos of their experiences which you can share with them through social media.
- Tell one part of the story today and the other part tomorrow.
- Write only a part of the story and ask the audience to partake in a competition to complete the final chapters or to add the visual content to the story.
Why tell your story?
Because “nothing holds attention like a great story”. (MSGroup – Creative Storytellers). According to research the human brain still searches for a story to make sense of information. Stories are universal and therefore they cross the boundaries of language, culture, gender and age. They are told and retold and build a sense of community which in event establishes emotional connections and creates a shared sense of purpose.
By telling your story, you will be able to create emotional connections with your guests which would never have been possible otherwise.
Learn more about storytelling, content creation and social media sharing at Travelling Mystery Guest’s workshops. Contact Renate for more information on 082 336 1562 / email@example.com.
Go ahead – write your story and share it with the world!