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How to Write Descriptions for Your Tours

Posted on June 10, 2020
How to Write Descriptions for Your Tours

Writing Great Tour Descriptions

Before we dive in, we should clarify the two types of descriptions each Built Story tour has.

  1. The initial tour description of the whole tour. And,
  2. The tour descriptions at each of the tour stops. 

In this article, we will share some simple steps and techniques to help you write descriptions with ease!


Tour Description for the Whole Tour

Aside from a great image, one of the best ways to capture the attention of potential Tour Takers is with an enthralling tour description of the whole tour. This initial elevator pitch should not just call attention, but should also enlighten Tour Takers to what you have in store for them. This tour description has a 300-character maximum.

An example of a description of the whole tour. This is what potential customers see before they purchase your tour. Use this chance to pull them in!

You’re creating an experience for people who are looking for an adventure. Attract Tour Takers with the promise of fascinating finds and architectural details.

You might:

  • Summarize the adventure
  • Provide key suggestions. Is this tour wheelchair friendly?  Will public transit be suggested between any of the stops?  Does this tour take customers through a park? If so, are facilities and water easily available?  Will you be suggesting entrance to a museum or other point of interest? Are there opening hours and ticket prices to keep in mind?
  • Lead off with a lesser-known fact, or interesting tidbit of information.  Begin to pull your potential customers into your story right from the start! With enough intrigue, they wont be able to help but purchase your tour.


Descriptions at Each Tour Stop

When writing tour descriptions at each tour stop, you have a 2000-character maximum.  Don't feel obligated to provide 2000 words each time, by any means! But, you do have room for this much text, if you need it.

For pointers on creating a tour, click here.

screenshot of tour description within a tour stop.
An example of what a customer will see once taking the tour, and at an individual tour stop. The Tour Creator has a 2000-character maximum for tour descriptions at each tour stop.

The Tour as a Narrative

You may want to think of your entire tour as one full narrative.  With this in mind, you can work toward artfully weaving your story within all of your tour stops. This helps avoid creating tours that are just a dry directory of information. Instead, each tour stop can be thought of as another chapter, or another part, of your story.

Pro Tip: Use an outline for building your tour, including all of your stops and content. It helps to see a bigger picture of what you are trying to achieve when you zoom out a little.

You might look at this tour, in Ann Arbor.  Or this tour, in Culver City. Or yet this tour, in Durham. You can imagine how the story unfolds as the Tour Taker advances to each stop.

One Tour Creator built a tour, the African American and Blues History of Memphis, with 15 stops highlighting the birth of the local music scene. It even includes the historic spots where famous musicians hung out!


Photo by Heidi Kaden on Unsplash

Connect the tour stops by returning to one unifying storyline or concept. For a tour category such as Literature, that’s fairly simple. But, if you chose Special Theme, your tour could take many twists and turns, so just be mindful not to let it become too confusing. For this reason, reading your tour aloud (or to others), before publishing, helps!

Returning to your main, unifying theme will help you stay focused and enhance your Tour Takers’ experience. You can also use the audio, video, and photos to help immerse your Tour Takers in the moment. A photo of a downtown street corner from 50 years ago provides a stark contrast to the present day. Imagery can be a powerful tool for building your story.


Room for Creativity

If you are looking for even greater creative license, you may want to create tours using the categories of Special Theme, as referenced above, or Fictional Storytelling

Find out more about your category options in the post What type of tours can I create on Built Story?


Consider your Audience

Some tours may be best suited for families with young children (see more info about that here!) Children enjoy participating and understanding your descriptions too!

Tour Creators may want to fill time between stops with activities that interest children. You might add activities kids will enjoy such as I-Spy or Out & About Bingo to your tour. Preselect objects to highlight on your tour and add them as clues for an I Spy game.

Alternatively, create printable Bingo cards with items families might encounter on their tour or a themed visual scavenger hunt. While small and easy to execute, these gestures will add a creative touch to your tours that are sure to keep families interacting with your tour. 


Useful Writing Tools 

Writing tools such as Grammarly allow writers to double-check spelling before posting a tour to the Built Story platform. It’s free and scans your work for grammar mistakes that could cause confusion for Tour Takers of any age.

Using Google DocsDropbox Paper, or other word processing programs also makes it much easier to create descriptive stories without a lot of unexpected mistakes.

Cloud-based word processing programs ensure that your work is easily accessed while being safely stored in one spot.

We recommend you research, write, and polish your tour in a cloud-based word processing program, where your information can be safely stored, accessed, and updated before publishing your work to the Built Story platform.


Updating your Tour Descriptions

After publishing a tour, you can return to edit any of your original stops or descriptions, if you would like.  Maybe you’ve created a dining or a nightlife tour, whose tour stops probably have the greatest potential for change. Maybe a restaurant changed its opening hours, or offers new curbside pickup guidelines.

Learn how to update and edit your existing tour here.

ice cream

Final Thoughts

If you have a personal story that will provide a laugh or a little insight at a stop, add that! That extra little touch will connect your Tour Takers to the moment, and to you.

Adding a secret that only some locals know keeps Tour Takers' attention focused on their surroundings, and adds a human element. Maintain engagement by promising more local tidbits or lesser-known facts as your customer continues their self-guided tour.

We hope the above tips offer some useful guidelines—but in the end, you are the Tour Creator, the storyteller, the artist. The world can’t wait to see what you have for them!

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