Our Courses

2022 Destination: Story – Innovative Storytelling for Tourism Operators

October 3 - Nov 23, 2022

Destination: Story
is a course designed to help tourism operators use the tool of storytelling to communicate their personality, experiences, and core identity to engage digital visitors at every stage along their path to purchase. This course is an invitation to explore how to connect with visitors through storytelling by learning how narrative structure and design can change behaviours and influence visitor decisions. This course offers a blend of traditional story craft and digital content strategy so operators will come away with a deeper understanding of how to tell stories in a complex digital environment. A key takeaway for participants will be developing a core business story that communicates their unique personality and values to their ideal visitors.

In this course you will:

  • Learn traditional story craft to build storytelling skills
  • Learn how to identify a story to become better at ‘story spotting’
  • Explore how digital storytelling is designed for social engagement
  • Practice creating minimum-viable-stories at low or no cost
  • Understand how story design plays an important role in the visitor experience
  • Gain practical skills on writing a core story about your business
  • Collaborate and receive feedback on your storytelling during class
  • Receive individual storytelling coaching
  • Gain an understanding of what discoverability means in a competitive online market and how to use storytelling to increase it
  • Increase your content strategy and editorial planning skills to decrease content burn-out and social media fatigue
  • Feel more confident telling stories for your business and creating a story culture that helps you reach business goals as a company

Program Outline

Destination: Story will be delivered virtually via ZOOM with a combined group and individual approach.  We will also be using an online discussion platform called SLACK.  Relevant homework and readings will be assigned between each session with the expectation that participants come ready and prepared to share.  You will need access to stable internet with working microphone and video camera.

Pre-Program Coaching – One on One session with facilitator to gain better understanding of where participants are starting from regarding organizational/personal story.

Session One: Strategic Storytelling

This session will include learning how strategic storytelling and experience themes can help organize content so stories have a better chance at being a strategic, economic driver versus a marketing afterthought. This session will also explore creating content through storytelling; examine what a core story is, and how destination stories need to stay agile in a time of volatility and change.

Session Two: Story by Design

This session will begin with a class discussion and sharing of the core story homework and how regional, municipal, and business stories differ or are alike.  We will analyze what the strengths are in these narrative relationships that can offer unique value propositions to the visitor while harmonizing messaging at every level the region’s government and local population. The rest of the session will look at how great digital storytelling is a craft that requires design-thinking and digital literacy. Participants will learn how stories need to ‘flow’ across multiple screen experiences in order to be competitive in today’s digital landscape.

Session Three: Storytelling in Real-Time

More often than not, viral content isn’t professionally produced—it’s a confluence of being in the moment, prepared with the right tools and having access to the right channels that determines the reach and impact of digital content. This session will look at case studies of successful real-time media content and provide specific, easy-to-use strategies to capture the ‘living narrative’. Participants will gain an understanding of how to leverage simple, accessible tools and planning strategies to tell hyper-local stories that simultaneously ‘show’ the visitor what is special about a destination while conveying safety and care in welcoming visitors in-person to a region, city, town or business.

Session Four: Story Distribution and Your Visitor

Creating a story is only one part of the content process — how you distribute and where you publish your content is equally important in today’s noisy digital environment. This session will explore how to plan for multiple platforms, create content for the right platform, at the right time, in the right context, and ensure distribution-thinking is part of your strategy from the beginning.

Post-Online Program Coaching – One on One/Group session with facilitator to move towards implemented story.

Who Should Apply?

This program is targeted at both for profit and non-profit level tourism operators who want to be able to explore new and innovative ways to connect through story telling.  This program is only open to licensed Canadian tourism operators.

What Participants Are Saying

“Mags is so awesome at what she does – the level of care she puts into the coaching session has helped me soooo much.”

“If you want to improve how you tell your story – mags (aka the story doctor) is the person to help.”

“Some pretty deep reflection on what I actually am doing to what I can be doing – loved every minute of it.”

Participant Commitment

Participants must commit to attending ALL online programs and scheduled coaching sessions.   You must also be willing to share your story drafts and concepts with the group – this will allow for not only good feedback but will enrich the learning for all.  It is expected you will need to commit a few hours each week to this process over about six weeks.

The Facilitator

Margaret Doyle – More than a decade ago, Margaret started asking businesses, “What is your story?” and discovered that the answer was never the same. Each story was as unique as the owner but it often seemed like this individuality wasn’t experienced by customers.

Today, Margaret continues to prompt leaders, owners, operators, and destinations with this essential question in order to create a catalyst for new thinking about the story they are telling. A passionate believer in what she describes as the ‘living narrative’, Margaret has developed story systems, training, and media for large corporations, governments, destinations, and businesses in order to shift cultures, inform and direct strategy, and bring stories to life. One of her favourite parts of working on a new project is the challenge of solving a narrative puzzle using digital, analog, memory, media and real-life elements to create a story experience.


  1. Pre-Course Coaching Sessions – Individual session start week of October 3rd, 2022.
  2. Scheduled group dates are October 19, 26, Nov 2 & 9.   All Zoom sessions are scheduled to start at 1:30 PM ADT and will last about 90 minutes.
  3. Post course group/individual coaching sessions will be scheduled after Nov 9th.

Application & Cost

Please note that space is limited and this is a competitive process.  GMIST is offering successful applicants a scholarship of $650 which covers the entire cost of the program, so please ensure that the application is fully completed.


The application process for Destination: Story has closed.  If you have questions about the program, please email info@gmist.ca