October 31, 2017

The art of storytelling is expected to change the way travel industry will promote destinations through the tales of real travellers in a report by Irene Susan Eapen. The art of storytelling in the travel industry, a long-standing concept, is now evolving into different forms like blogging, travel videos and photo blogging. With social media increasingly expanding its importance in the personal space of people, digital platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are playing a major part in promoting the art of storytelling.

As each traveller comes back with an interesting story of a destination, be it an offbeat destination or a well known destination, the art story telling is mostly focused on a personal touch that talks about good experiences at various attractions on the unique aspects of the spot like music, food, wine and the hospitality of the local people. 

Some of them include even the challenges that they have faced in order to add to their travel story. Indian travellers are now keen on exploring unique destinations like Bhutan, Nepal, Jordan, Cuba and North Eastern part of India and when they come back they have stories to narrate in style! Events like The Lime Diaries, Travellers Meet and AAO Hostel's Travel Fellowship give you an overview on the art of storytelling in travel which motivates people to explore the world and enjoy every single moment while at a destination.

Saurabh Jain, Co-Founder of AAO Hostels, said, “We can definitely feel the difference in the travel industry; the travellers staying at our hostel have mentioned about being influenced by blogs and social media posts and the posts that motivated them to travel more." The concept of storytelling is slowly developing as a marketing tool for promoting a destination in the travel industry. Currently, there are only few people using this concept in promoting a destination and believe that the art of storytelling in travel is going change the travel industry in the long run especially for National Tourism Organizations (NTOs), State Tourism Boards and hotels, backpacker hostels, wineries and cruises.

Vikram Ahuja, Director, Byond Travel explains, “The Indian market is growing tremendously. The biggest growth we have noticed is in the community and group travel segment, especially with outbound travel with an expected increase to over 50 million travellers in 2020 from 14 million in 2014. The other community and interest groups are also increasing at 350% over the next few years.” The art of storytelling is definitely going to evolve as an effective marketing tool in the industry in the future for promoting a destination and usage of this concept in the travel industry is gradually going to increase over the years. 

Storytelling in travel

Saurabh says, “The concept of storytelling in travel has been an age old phenomenon, while the travelogues of some of the world famous travelers are still referred in history books for more historical facts.” Vikram observes, “From the beginning of time, the travel industry has attracted potential travellers with the promise of a journey to a new land filled with many new adventures. As every traveller comes back becoming a story teller after each trip with different stories, memories and moments. We are using storytelling in travel to celebrate these very moments in a travellers journey narrated from their perspective and in a manner which is relataible to anyone who listens, watches or reads." 

Storytelling in different formats In the opinion of Saurabh, “With the advent of internet, blogging and social media, the travelogues by weekend travellers can motivate many people to explore the destinations they have explored be it in India or abroad. It is easier to reach a mass audience. The concept of travel blogging has also changed compared to those days where travellers used to keep an account of places visited, to gain popularity on social media or just to get their stories read by others. With the high end mobile phones cameras, selfie cameras, video, photo blogging has gained its popularity where anyone can share their travel stories within minutes and get more likes and shares and can keep posting more travel stories on Instagram and Facebook.” 

Vikram says, “Our storytelling concept are in different forms like including videos, podcasts, photo essays and articles, that focuses on making a consumer feel as though they were actually there when this happened. " "We have a storytelling speaker series,” The Lime Diaries” that highlights on the travel stories of various speakers. We have had speakers right from actors to conservationists, scientists to entrepreneurs. Some of our prominent speakers include Suhel Seth, Vasundhara Das and Danish Sait.”

Marketing Plans

Saurabh says, “We had organized our first AAO Hostels Travel Fellowship in July this year that included eight travellers who travelled across India exploring the known and lesser-known places by clicked pictures, videos, and collected some interesting stories from these places. We are planning to organise one more similar fellowship in December.”

"We are experimenting with different formats and themes for the event series. We are also partnering with multiple brands to launch storytelling sessions for specific communities, including kids, wild-life and conservation and road-trippers,” Vikram added.

A platform for promoting destinations

Saurabh says, “The art of storytelling will definitely develop into a platform for promoting destinations. Many players in the travel segment including tourism departments of different states, hotel chains, OTAs, tours and activities and organizers have realized that story telling as a potential crowd puller for their platforms. A lot of blog posts found on the internet promote specific destinations and the affiliate blog posts are directly influenced by the art of storytelling in travel. The travel writers are good at story telling act as they are influencers for this industry."

According to Vikram, the biggest ambassadors for any brand are their customers and all tourism boards have realized that user generated stories have much more impact, better engagement and reach than most offline media channels. “Our storytelling sessions are now becoming a platform for us to explore multiple facets of a particular destination through stories right from food to hospitality of the people. For example, one of our best talks featured Singer/Actor Vasundhara Das, who spoke her about her incredible travels to Colombia.”

Major destinations

Saurabh says,” As per our observation we have noticed that most of the travel stories are from travel to offbeat places or experiences, like rural areas, road trips or treks.”

“Some of the major destinations that people generally talk about through the art of storytelling are Jordan, Cuba and North Eastern part of India,” says Vikram.


Saurabh says, “We have noticed mostly the solo travelers and a few of them have been biking couples. “

“We have mostly seen the well travelled, often travelled and discerning traveler who are into the art of storytelling,” Vikram added.

Indian travellers are now exploring the small little towns or cities of various destinations compared to the popular destinations like Dubai, Singapore." Saurabh explains, “India offers a diverse set of experiences especially with the increasing connectivity in rail and road, authentic information of the destination and places to stay and the facility to book in advance over the internet and the craving for adventure inspire Indian youngsters to travel and explore the offbeat destinations within the country, compared to travelling abroad. For all the international destinations you need to book your travel in advance.”

"We have noticed that there is more and more demand from the existing base of all the well travelled customers who are looking for unique and experiential locations and unique activities. Some of the destinations like South America, Africa are soon becoming popular destinations for gastronomy, photography and self-drive,"

”Vikram observed. Storytelling as a marketing tool for the travel industry Sarabh explains, “The art of storytelling is definitely going to boom as a marketing tool for the travel industry. It is developing as a marketing tool for all the players across travel industry. This is bound to increase over the next few years. As this concept is still in the nascent stage, it is being used by very few players in the industry.”


Vikram stated, “The art of storytelling using real travellers and their tales will soon become a more effective marketing tool compared to the regular branded campaigns. The different media formats especially video and virtual reality will be a new trend."


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