Finding #OneWord

Luggage Labels with place names written on them

Is it possible to find one word that captures the essence of a destination? It’s tough, but delegates at this month’s Tourism Management Institute Annual Convention had a jolly good try!

Inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller Eat Pray Love (see Lorna’s 29 August post below), we decided to test out the #OneWord idea when we ran an interactive session to open the conference for TMI.

We wanted to get delegates into the destination mindset. And we wanted to share some of our thinking about the importance of putting a shared story at the heart of destination development. So we began our set with a riff on stories and storytelling, using the Pecha Kucha method of presenting (in truth, more a performance than a presentation). And we followed that up by sharing some simple techniques for developing stories with stakeholders.

We ended the set with our #OneWord exercise – giving delegates a mere 60 seconds to crystallise the essence of their place on a luggage label. And – having laid the groundwork – we got some cracking results. From the quirky to the authentic to the cheeky to the classic, TMI delegates really stepped up to the plate and showed what they’re made of!

For example we loved “Illusion” for Strawberry Hill (“no strawberries, no hill” apparently), “Sparkling” for Aberdeen (granite, snow, sea), and “Cwtch” for South East Wales (Welsh for an affectionate hug, a safe place, a cuddle … as Gavin & Stacey fans will know).

Our 3 favourites had a classic elegance and simplicity. And coincidentally they came from 3 of Britain’s biggest tourism brands:

“Pleasure” for Bath – Bath is so often associated with heritage & history, but this reminds us of Bath’s original purpose and contemporary pleasures.

“Time” for Greenwich – referring to GMT of course but also suggesting a place where you can take your time, spend time, time to visit …

“Illuminating” for Blackpool – the famous Illuminations, but also ideas of brightness, clarity, ornament, of being lit up, and of discovering something new.

“Illuminating” sums up our experience of running this exercise with 100+ delegates too. Now we’re planning to use the #OneWord hashtag on Twitter to crowd-source more contributions. So why not join in by tweeting, or by leaving your #OneWord in the comments below …