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Take a brief moment to reflect on some of your own trips - what have been your most memorable experiences and why? Was it the flight over or the room in your hotel? Or was it a medley of those unexpected moments you don't tend to plan or foresee. The special characters you meet along the way or the hidden gems you stumbled unknowingly upon tend to be more memorable than visiting an overcrowded tourist attraction and buying a generic souvenir at the end. Would you agree?

The approach to travel has evolved significantly over the last few years, largely sparked by the millennial generation, and experiential travel continues to influence travel behaviour in 2019. Small towns, less-travelled islands and travelling by local bus are 3/10 travel trends listed on the latest Pinterest 100 trends for 2019.  We know experiential travel is not a new concept, however, as global demand for travel experiences increases, destinations need to focus on developing and promoting products and experiences that meet these needs for experiencing a destination "on a local, cultural scale, while simultaneously bringing something home that’s lasting and sharable".

Experiences are best told through stories - authentic, local and personalised stories. Remember that travellers don’t buy into brands - they buy into the story behind the destination. The everyday people are what make these destination experiences unique, and in turn, naturally become brand ambassadors for your destination. And who better to tell your destination’s stories than those that know and love it the most?

Many DMOs have been tapping into this valuable source of inspiration through campaigns such as neighbourhood guides, the concept of 'localhood' and free local guides to develop the most authentic experiences and stories so highly valued by travellers today. Wouldn't you much prefer to meet the lady of the pineapple fields in the Bahamas rather than just visit the pineapple fields?

The Importance of Destination Storytelling

Local people who have an interesting story to tell and a genuine love for their home makes for some of the most inspiring, organic and authentic content. Authenticity is key. For destinations, there is a wealth of content waiting to be discovered, it's about uncovering these unknown stories and sharing them to the right audience. New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation has recently taken this one step further, by creating social content that appeals to both tourists and locals, uncovering stories that locals may not have heard of before and would be inclined to share themselves. This depth of content and level of distribution is not only cost-effective for DMOs, but it is instrumental in keeping destinations top of mind in a competitive market.

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The opportunity to tell the many incredible stories that lie beneath the surface of the brand should be at the forefront of your destination's core content framework, yet it is often overlooked. We are huge advocates of crafting unique experiences from the most authentic places and people in a destination, to then build this into inspiring hub content and storytelling to communicate who the destination is and what it has to offer.

At last year's #DTTTCampus we had the pleasure of working with content creator, storytelling photographer and styling expert, Catherine Frawley, to learn how destinations can look at activating an industry to craft great hub and social content.

The Workshop

Together with @catherine_frawley and a passionate, local Jersey farm, participants got the opportunity to visit the Le Boutillier family farm where they learnt how to translate the farm to fork experience through visual storytelling. Alongside Catherine, the group experienced everything that makes the farm what it is from its strong family heritage to its famous Jersey cows, looking for key stories in the every day to then craft into rich, compelling and engaging social content.

Screenshot 2019-03-14 at 12.52.07Screenshot 2019-03-14 at 12.52.22Screenshot 2019-03-14 at 12.59.00
📸Courtesy of @ensanne 

"...nothing has to be put to chance." - Catherine

Key takeaways from Catherine

  • When creating a visual story be sure to capture all the details - this helps to illustrate the whole story. It's important not to miss anything out.
  • Light is very important - direct sunlight at midday is the worst type of light when it comes to photography. In this case, always be sure there is an appropriate filter for this kind of photo or a spot in the shadow where you can create your set-up.
  • Think about the light when photographing a subject - think about the details but also check the bigger picture because nothing has to be put by chance.
  • Creating a little “mess” in the composition takes away the idea of a perfectly built set - making it appear more natural therefore more authentic. This is important especially with the notion of 'Instagram vs Reality' and audiences increasingly looking for authenticity.
  • Whatever the subject matter is, try and get as much out of it as you can - For example, ask the protagonists to slow down or stop in their movements slightly to not miss the moment. Take your time to really capture every angle and make the most of the main subject.
  • Photograph the “behind the scenes” of production - This adds another layer of interest to the story, providing more detail and information to engage with.

For this year's #DTTTCampus, which will take place from 13-14 June 2019 in Oslo, Norway, our workshops will be focusing on a variety of different topics from Content & Storytelling to Sustainable Growth. Subscribe to our email list to get notified when we announce our full speaker list!

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