Samantha Hardcastle

#469: Story-Doing: How to Blow Away Your Customers with a Multi-Sensory Journey

#469: Story-Doing: How to Blow Away Your Customers with a Multi-Sensory Journey

Michele and I visited Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands in March 2021.

He hosted automotive dealers from around the nation and I was invited to provide a Business of Story mastery course.

Given that Sir Richard is a business storytelling icon, I was tickled to be asked.

But what really blew me away was the Fantasy Island-like experience we were treated to.

His remarkable staff anticipated every conceivable guest request. It was one of the most magical moments we had ever experienced.

But you don’t need to be an international billionaire to design these same kinds of peak moments for your customers.

Samantha Hardcastle, founder and creative director of The Storied Experience, will show you how a little creativity and ingenuity go a long way to pull off multi-sensory journeys for your customers that they will not soon forget.

Samantha discusses the concept of ‘story-doing’ and how it can be applied to create immersive and memorable experiences for customers.

She shares an example of a story journey designed for a hospitality destination in the Catskills, where guests are taken on a whimsical journey through the perspective of fly fishing lures.

Samantha emphasizes the importance of novelty and surprise in creating memorable experiences and suggests that businesses in various industries can use these insights to bring experiential design and storytelling to their own customer journeys.

She provides a real-life example of Jacumba Hot Springs, a resort in San Diego County, outlining her process of creating a story-based experience for the resort, focusing on themes of water, healing, and creativity.

The journey includes activities such as hiking, finding a mural, and participating in a songwriting challenge.

The goal is to create a unique and immersive experience that encourages guests to connect with themselves, others, and the destination.


  1. Story-Doing is about bringing a story to life in an interactive and sensory way, creating immersive experiences for customers.
  2. Novelty and surprise are key elements in creating memorable experiences that stand out from the competition.
  3. Businesses in various industries can use experiential design and storytelling to enhance their customer journeys and create deeper connections with customers.
  4. Offline experiences play a crucial role in creating impactful and memorable experiences.
  5.  Allies and challenges are essential in creating a memorable guest experience.
  6. The hero’s journey can be applied to the design of experiences in the hospitality industry.


  • 00:00 Introduction and Overview
  • 03:10 Story Doing and Immersive Experiences
  • 08:27 The Power of Novelty and Surprise
  • 14:40 Applying Experiential Design and Storytelling
  • 25:02 The Rise of the Experience Economy
  • 28:05 Creating Memorable Guest Experiences: Allies and Challenges
  • 30:11 Enriching Lives: The Goal of the Hospitality Industry
  • 37:03 Immersive Experiences: The Power of Storytelling
  • 48:12 The Symbolic Power of Water in Guest Experiences
  • 55:45 Connecting Guests: A Key Element of a Successful Experience


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