Storytelling for Tourism Buildings: If These Walls Could Talk…

Stories have the power to change your mind, make you feel differently, change you, teach you and enchant you. Tell stories through your buildings, your architecture and interiors. Enchant your tourist, visitors and guests – make your place unmissable.

Stories are recognisable patterns of information, and in that pattern we find meaning. Humans are so adept at detecting story patterns that we see them, even when they are not there. So let’s look at how you can structure the patterns around you to create stories that your visitors can perceive.

Great storytellers are captivating because they make the stories relatable and repeatable. When people can relate to a character, they feel like it could have happened to them. Making your visitors feel like they could be part of your story makes them feel like belong, and belonging can translate to loyalty. Brand loyalists are great re-tellers of stories too.

Storytelling is an amazing way to create loyalty and word of mouth marketing, isn’t it?!

Create a Story Board

Start by listing some good stories about yourself that relate to how people can experience your product, location, history, creativity, passions or values. Stories that are important to you, that reflect how you think people can experience it at its best.

One or two is enough. The most memorable dinner party (over one of your beautiful wines), discovering the shed full of old equipment for a past use, a situation that inspired you…

Pick one of your favourites and write down the important elements of the story:

Now ask yourself how you got into that situation. There’s always a back story that creates the identity. Write down the important parts of that backstory.

The space that you create needs to invoke the elements (atmosphere, activity, state of mind) that are important.

Now make it unmissable – tell it really well.

Good stories have a narrative.

Stories reveal themselves, you aren’t bombarded with the whole thing at once. Create a journey to reveal your story in your space.

Good storytellers inject emotion into their stories.

Use the atmosphere to represent your feelings at the time of your story. What was motivating you? What troubled you? How did you feel about your surroundings? How do you feel now about what happened then?

Good storytellers create a rapport.

The magic of great storytelling is that it creates a connection between you and the listener. And there is one simple rule: high risk, high reward; low risk, low reward. The higher the level of disclosure, the deeper the connection you are going to make.

Of course, there is the risk that you might over-expose and end up with a tacky or self-conscious representation, more like a theme park than the sophisticated space you were hoping for. Becoming a good storyteller takes mastery over time – that’s where a professional can help.

Provide opportunities for return visitors to deepen their level of disclosure – making them feel even more attached to your brand, and that they are especially valuable to you because you allow them that deeper knowledge. Inner spaces and VIP lounge treatments can add an enormous amount to your visitor’s long term brand loyalty.

Good storytellers use a variety of intensities.

Stories generally follow a general pattern.

You start with the background, then tell the listener how the story started. This is the event that triggers the story to begin. The action should rise throughout until it reaches a dramatic peak — a point of no return — also known as the climax. You then drive from the climax to the final events of the story. After that, you can briefly discuss the consequences of the story.

Use size, lighting, sound, decoration, colour to create varying intensities between spaces. Divide your space up into the activities that you want people to participate in, and tell that part of the story there with all its intensities.

Studio S2 Architects can help you make your place tell the right story, so it becomes an unmissable experience to visit. Contact Us to find out more.


For most tourism businesses, working on your buildings and grounds is a big deal. There is a lot of money and time at stake and can be difficult to know where to start. So let’s just start with a coffee.