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How can travel brands improve at capturing their customers’ imaginations?

They can rely less on data and technology, and focus more on telling stories about their brands that will interest consumers, Wolff Olins CEO Ije Nwokorie said in September at Skift Global Forum in New York City.

“That has transformational potential for the travel industry,” Nwokorie said. “It means we no longer go into the micro and commoditized levels of thinking about the journey just as, you search, you find, you book, you go.”

Bands should make their customers heroes in charge of creating their own journeys. The brands should play a supporting role, and be part of that story, but it’s the customers who should define the experience, Nwokorie said.

“Brands that know how to make their customer the hero really know how to reach out to the world,” Nwokorie said, saying that the travel industry should look to Hollywood to learn how to tell stories that are “legendary and mythical.”

“Great brands don’t pretend to be heroes themselves.,” he said. “They are all about making the customers the heroes.”

Watch Nwokorie’s complete talk below.

Read more coverage of Skift Global Forum 2016

At this year’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, travel leaders from around the world gathered for two days of inspiration, information, and conversation for panels such as this as well as solo TED-like talks on the future of travel.

Visit our Skift Global Forum site for more details about 2017 events, including our London event in April of 2017.

Photo Credit: Wolff Olins CEO Ije Nwokorie thinks travel brands should spend less time obsessing over the nuts-and-bolts of booking and more time telling stories. Dan Peltier / Skift