In marketing destinations, stories may be real or realistic fiction. In this respect, it is advisable that the author states at some point whether the story is or not real, no matter whether the character names are changed to protect their privacy. Apart from these two categories, there may be as many kinds of stories as our minds can imagine. However, there are some prototypes of stories that are more often told, and that illustrate the various types of narratives that may be used for our destination stories:

  • Challenge and achievement stories are those focused on the struggles of characters having to strive against many difficulties and overcome many obstacles to survive, to restore balance in their lives or in their community, or just to achieve an important dream that is worth all these efforts. This could be the case of new entrepreneurs at the base of the pyramid who start up a tourism related business in the destination and tell their story of struggle and achievement to inspire others to follow their example.
  • Connection and love stories are those that relate to two or more people usually coming from different walks of life, who meet and share many experiences that break some of their mental barriers and open their minds and their hearts to some realities towards which they had a rather negative attitude due to some misconception or cultural taboo. They are stories to foster cross-cultural understanding and challenge the human spirit to overcome cultural barriers and taboos for a better conviviality and cooperation among cultural communities.
  • Healing stories tell the experience of recovery from a serious disease or health challenge. Challenging recovery processes are usually a matter of mental strength and discovery of both the power of our minds and the power of our emotions. Learning meditation techniques and other personal development tools is an issue of growing interest that is also the object of many travel experiences.
  • Adventure stories are among the most typical travel related experiences. These may encompass many kinds of adventures related to sporting challenges and also entailing some dangers or unexpected results. These adventure stories may have a strong component of human spirit and personal transformation, as long as adventures not only pose physical challenges but mostly mental ones and sometimes have the power of awakening people’s human spirit, hence becoming a deep life-changing experience.
  • Transformational stories would be all those entailing an important self-discovery or self-improvement as a result of a process of reflection and personal development work. The storytelling training itself provides a valuable tool for self-reflection and discovery, acting sometimes as a healing therapy. This kind of story may match with the life-changing experiences of destinations 3.0, as long as they tell a story of personal transformation, most usually facing personal fears or weaknesses rather than external obstacles.
  • Creativity & cooperation stories may tell the challenges of volunteers or contributors who struggle to find innovative solutions and ideas to solve problems or to create more value for the destination. These stories are to show the power of human imagination to tackle almost any challenge with less effort than usual when thinking out of the box, or to create new opportunities for entrepreneurs by developing innovative experiences. These kinds of stories are to encourage stakeholders to challenge their imagination and join the pool of contributors to enhance the destination competitiveness. These stories are the key to building the new culture that destinations 3.0 need to develop.
  • Change leadership stories tell how community leaders or stakeholders take the role of brand ambassadors and not only through their speeches but mostly through example they manage to awaken other community member’s human spirit to cooperate in working for the destination’s mission accomplishment. These stories are to tell how change leadership works, and so provide an example for future leaders in the same or in other communities addressing similar challenges.


What other types of stories would you add to this list?

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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