Tips and Tools

Tips for Creating Engaging Content

Experiential Tourism
Photo courtesy of Orillia & Lake Country Tourism

The third stop in our tours development tour is all about content development.  

Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in a workshop called Experience Development 101 for Agri-Tourism hosted by Tourism Simcoe County and facilitated by Kim Clarke, Tourism Experience Development Specialist with Regional Tourism Organization 7 (Bruce, Grey, Simcoe). 

The workshop highlighted the growing importance and value of experiential tourism opportunities as more and more visitors seek out meaningful experiences vs simply consuming products or services.  

Kim presented 12 Ingredients of a Well-Informed Experience and accompanying questions operators can use to plan a rewarding and successful experience. As Kim highlighted, working through these questions allows the operator to create powerful storytelling opportunities that engage the visitor in an activity, whether it’s crushing grapes at a winery or collecting sap from trees to make maple syrup. These interactive, person-led adventures, in turn, help cement cherished memories of that experience for the visitor. 

Your Digital Tour – From Planning to Creation 

If these “in-real-life” events represent the gold standard for operators in experiential tourism, creators of digital tours can learn from this model and adapt the basic elements to offer impactful stories that leave visitors with memorable self-guided discoveries.  

As you move from the higher-level planning to creating the actual content to include in your digital tours, we recommend considering the following tips against the backdrop of a well-planned visitor experience: 

  • Start by thinking about the overall story you want people to come away with. What do you want them to know, feel, sense, think, even do as a result of taking your tour? And how are you going to build that story throughout your tour? 
  • As you start to build that story, identify your points of interest or stops (think local, authentic, engaging and valuable to the visitor). 
  • For each stop, create a script or even storyboard. This is likely going to be your most time-consuming part of the process, so allow plenty of time. As the developers at STQRY have identified, the actual content, whether it is video (we recommend this where possible) or audio, should not be more than one to one-and-one-half minutes, otherwise you risk losing your visitor’s attention and interest. Using this as a guide, your script for each stop will be approximately 250-300 words.  
  • If you have more information than this for one or more stops, add a second ‘layer’ of content that visitors have the option of clicking on.  
  • Ensure you have a greeting for your tour that will provide a welcome, overview of the tour and brief instructions for how to use the app.  
  • If you are going to offer the tour in multiple languages, get an early start working with translators to ensure the creative elements will resonate with different audiences. 
  • When it comes time to recording your scripts, beg, borrow or steal people who are dynamic, engaging and comfortable speaking in front of a camera (if you use video) and who have a clear voice. The people you choose will be your tour guides; ensure that visitors can ‘feel’ the enthusiasm in their voices.  
  • Similarly, ensure photos and video content have a high production value.  
  • “Focus test” your tour with people who are part of your target audience(s) and be prepared to make changes if necessary.  

And perhaps the most important tip is to be creative and have fun. The more fun you have in the process, the more interesting and memorable the final product will be.