A Series on Conjuring Joy: Identify, Reflect, and Project

by: Andreas Weissenborn, Destinations International

Hi reader, if you are new to the blog, we are doing a series on conjuring joy and being a Destination Mindfulness Organization; make sure to start here to catch up. 

Mindfulness starts with oneself, and, for us, our collective is an entity built by the community for the advancement of our communities. A destination organization, and in particular our roles in destination promotion and stewardship of a brand, is the ideal vessel to deliver joy to residents and visitors alike. We have the platform, the strategy, and the means to lift our destinations out of the den of anxiety many of us are in. However, creating joy is a skill. It takes a roadmap and practice to deliver and connect with our audience. Let us begin with the core three skills to conjuring joy: identifying, reflecting, and projecting joy. 

IdentifyIdentify at least one positive occurrence or activity for both your organization and community each workday. 

As humans, we tend to be wired to start and end our days identifying the good, the bad, and the ugly that occurred in our world. Now, the skill in this that needs to be worked on is being able to parse out the good and momentous and elevate it to the next stage in being able to reflect on it.  

At a destination organization, we are the keepers of a lot of ‘good’ in our communities. We are usually the first to know of events, openings, celebrations, anniversaries, and we are generally just in the know. Most importantly, we are passionate about each of these! For us, this is just a matter of tuning our dials to identify as much joy occurring within our community (or organization) as possible. Here is one idea for how to do this. 

Destination organizations have become vaults when it comes to the collection and retention of data on our work, worth, and efforts. Our reach and insights are vast and we have the tools to build out a joy repository for our communities. Each of our destinations are a collection of restaurants, attractions, events, and individuals which create the supply-line of joy we can tap into.  

Use your marketing and communication tools to track and monitor the happenings of these suppliers. When a positive occurrence or event can be identified, you can work to ensure that it is felt by all in the community. You can go the extra step and ask both your staff and stakeholders to reflect on their positive occurrence. A couple examples of a celebration: 

  • A local restaurant celebrates a milestone in serving the community

  • A staff member passes an employment duration celebration. 

  • An event has been announced that will provide a unique experience for your community. 

  • A local business wins an acclaimed award for their work (i.e. James Beard Foundation, AAA rating, local superlatives awards). 

  • Your destination is acknowledging a historically or culturally significant event. 

Each of these and more should be on your radar every day to try and identify something worthy of joy because, even if the act of joy isn’t experienced by the individual, it can still be shared and felt by the community. Now, we’re able to reflect on it. 

ReflectAn intentional pause to consider all the positive occurrences you have identified.  

To reflect on a positive occurrence in a destination is to introspect on how the occurrence positively benefited your community. You are taking the time as a community shared asset to be the purveyor of that positive occurrence and its impact on the heart, body, and soul of your community. Being a more reflective organization has several benefits that can manifest both internally and externally towards our community. It can help provide healing after a community has suffered, improve our communication skills, broaden our perspectives, improve our relationships and enhance empathy in our community. A couple exercises a destination organization can engage in to practice reflections on joy: 

  • What positive events can we expect to experience in our community this week? 

  • How does our work provide a better working environment for our residents and visitors? 

  • What is a negative event that occurred in our community that we can reframe positively? 

  • What are ways our work allows others to rest and recharge? 

  • What are we grateful for in our destination? 

The more we, as an organization, practice paying attention to these events, the more we will notice positivity around us and the better we will be able to project this joy. 

Project: The synergy of our marketing and promotions of the joy in our community. 

We’ve now collected, identified, and reflected on all the positive in our destinations. It is now time to project that outward into our communities. The effects of projected joy go beyond just those directly in its path. Joy and happiness can still be felt by those who experience it second hand. It also establishes a value of awareness of our work and worth, one that will hopefully be associated with good, positive, and joy around our efforts. When people know our work and can value us, they become our biggest advocates and hopefully fund us. We are stewards of our brand and we should make sure that our brand can always be described as positive. A few ways we are equipped to project: 

  • We own the main marketing and comms channels of our brand. Make sure to feature our joy on display via our social media, newsletters, and advertising. 

  • More importantly, make sure all these efforts are also shown in-market and in reach of residents. 

  • Develop a means to specifically track or tag the positivity for others to easily find and follow. 

  • Provide a round-up or collection at the end of each week, month, or quarter for others to easily catch up. 

  • Let your partners contribute; make sure to feature their positivity and joy as well through our reach. 

  • Remember this ties back to your brand and every positive outreach is another positive affirmation to your work. 

Thank you for joining us on this journey of joy to becoming a destination mindfulness organization. Be sure to check out our blog to keep up-to-date with forthcoming entries in the series.

About the Author

Andreas WeissenbornVice President of Research and AdvocacyDestinations International

About the Author

Introduced to the industry by a random internship application to Visit Baltimore, Andreas began an unexpected career that left him with a continued passion towards tourism. He leads the research and advocacy efforts of the entire organization with an eye towards developing data-driven tools to help destinations around the world tell their story.

More From This Author