Interactive Storytelling: The Next Big Thing in Travel Apps

As of the end of 2022, Instagram, the widely used photo-sharing app, has surpassed 2.5 billion active users. It is projected that the social media platform, which is owned by Facebook, now generates over $20 billion in advertising revenue, marking a staggering 264% increase from the $5.5 billion reported in 2017.

Travel - alongside food, drink and fitness - is one of the most popular categories of content on Instagram. Between those on holiday, to couples and families enjoying city breaks or weekends in the countryside, to serious travelers, there are hundreds of hashtags used to support images, videos and Stories.

Travel companies and businesses engaged in custom travel app development need to take notice of this trend and incorporate travel storytelling into their business strategies. As younger customers exert more buying power, how a travel brand appears and is portrayed online is going to have more of an impact on revenue and repeat bookings. Digital storytelling tools can be of great help for reaching and engaging your travel audience.

How to improve your Travel App?

Digital photo storytelling

Investigate what your consumer wants. TripAdvisor did so: it surveyed over 40,000 "connected travelers" - those who are more likely to search and book journeys using a smartphone - to find out what influences their choices. The survey found that ratings on review sites (59%), word of mouth recommendations (49%), accommodation facilities (44%) and discounts (39%) were the most important factors when booking a trip.

Many of those surveyed will have some serious air mile points accumulated, which means they're going to explore destinations digitally before booking. Using Instagram, Facebook, Google, YouTube and travel apps, potential customers are going to explore where to go, what to see, what to eat, and how to get around before booking.

Reviews are always going to play an important role; but as we are seeing, they're no longer the only way people explore new destinations. Hotels, airlines, resorts, restaurants and tourist attractions all need to take note.

More often than not, before booking a trip, people want to see videos, or watch as someone also on holiday shares a Story or Live moment on Instagram. Interactive content is powerful and opinions of traveling storytellers can have a decisive impact on other travelers. An interactive storytelling app can play a valuable role in your marketing efforts, encouraging customers to book direct, therefore generating improved margins compared to those who book through OTAs (online travel agents).

Digital storytelling is the way forward. Customers generate an enormous amount of content themselves. Travel brands can benefit from this. At the same time, marketing teams and travel agents can create and use content to show off what your business offers guests.

Related article: How to Build a Travel App That Wins Customer Loyalty

How do we integrate interactive storytelling?

How to integrate digital storytelling in your app

One of the simplest ways, to start with, is to integrate images, videos and live content from Instagram. Re-post this content, with the permission of the person who created the content (a polite message and tagging them in the content is often sufficient) and ensures your brand's Instagram feed is prominent on your website and mobile app.

Integrate and share this content across other platforms too, including Facebook and travel websites, such as TripAdvisor.

Another way, if you want to take this to the next level, is to ensure staff are creating interactive content on a regular basis. Working with trusted web and app development partners, you can customize an area of your website/app, to ensure potential customers can experience your brand before booking. Digital storytelling apps bring people far closer to the real experience than reviews and stock images ever can.

And finally, by incorporating elements of narrative, a travel app can transport users to another world, bringing the destination to life and inspiring you to explore beyond the usual tourist hotspots. Imagine a travel app that tells the story of a local street artist, taking you on a tour of the city's most vibrant and colorful murals. Or a travel app that shares the history of a hidden temple, guiding you through its winding corridors and revealing the secrets of its ancient past.

With the right storytelling techniques, a travel app can create a truly unforgettable experience. It can help you connect with the destination on a deeper level, giving you a sense of the culture, history, and people that make it unique.

Related article: The Hottest Trends in the Travel App Development

Closing word

Use storytelling best practices to get ahead of the competition. Gear up for next year's bookings with videos, real-time stories, user-generated content (UGC), blogs and reviews - a combination of everything that shows your brand in the best possible light. When those who are looking now experience your services, they will create more digital stories online that can be used in future marketing efforts.

Drive forward bookings and revenue with interactive storytelling! And if you have a great idea and look for travel app developers to bring it to life, drop us a line. We would be happy to help you out!