how to build or buy the best apps for smarter, safer, more adventurous travel

According to legend. Magic!

According to legend.

Those are magic words. They bring us back to childhood, that time of wonder, when the equally magical phrase “Once upon a time” teleported us from reality to the world of fantasy. “According to legend” has the same effect. It alerts your audience that they are about to hear a good story ~ maybe even a whopper ~ about stone ships and dragons, knights and patriots, villains, castles, and epic battles. And that’s OK. Sure ~ tourists want facts and figures, like knowing Abraham Lincoln’s memorial statue in Washington DC weighs 175 tons ~ a fact I mention in my smartphone tour of the DC memorials. But more importantly, I also mention that Lincoln was “a failure in business and henpecked by his wife.” Why? It’s his story ~ the human interest element that transcends time and technology.

Americans are great storytellers, but I sense we have yet to connect the dots between the stories of our places and economic vitality, that is, our fair share of the $6 Trillion tourism industry. My own city, Richmond, Virginia, is chock full of great stories, many of them untold or under-told. Far too often, to us an old civil war cannonball is just a cannonball. But “according to legend…” Let the magic begin. You are not lying. You are telling a story, and your audience is smart enough to know the difference.

Which brings me to…a story! In 2012, I took my 86 year old mother to Norway. She wanted to see the fjords. Our excellent cruise line, Hurtigruten, took us off-ship for day trips through some small Norwegian towns, including a town that had one, and only one, tourist attraction ~ a six foot statue of the maiden of the sea. I can still recall how the tour bus leaned as every passenger clamored for a picture of this statue ~ one we Americans would ignore if it were in our town. But the Norwegians, like many Europeans, have a tourist mentality. They know the secret of tourism success: Shine a light on just about anything, sprinkle it with perfume if you must, but tell its story and tell it well, and people will clamor for a look.

So before we get into the technical mechanics of building a smartphone tour for your location, let’s agree to keep first things first. When building a modern, technology based tourist infrastructure, it is critically important to keep this perspective: technology will come and go, but a good story will last forever.

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