Dubai, the Persian Gulf nation known in the travel world for the towering Burj al Arab hotel, the world’s biggest indoor ski slope, and an island that looks like a palm tree, is innovating once again with a newly announced Minister of State for Happiness. Though it’s more directed to its citizens, there’s no reason why it couldn’t set another precedent with a Director of Happiness for tourism. Think of the possibilities for destination marketing. From what I read, it would be the first.
I never heard about a Director of Happiness so went on a Google search to see what I could find in hospitality, travel, or in the business world in general. Surprise. There are Directors of Happiness for employees, customers, and clients. And one site had a chart with the average salary for the job at $72K. I even found a coach who specializes in happiness whose clients have included the likes of luxury brands Mont Blanc and Jaeger Le Coultre.
But let’s get back to travel and the opportunities there. I could see a destination naming a Director of Happiness as the centerpiece of a campaign to promote the idea that they go the extra mile to welcome travelers. It’d be a good publicity generator as well, provided that it’s part of a larger program that will show concrete results. Like what? First step would be research to see what visitors would most appreciate. Friendlier locals? Meet the people type programs? More information kiosks? More public restrooms (that’d make a funny commentary)? And think of the interview potential!
I was surprised in doing research that only one hotel has a happiness concierge – the Waidringer Hof in the Austrian Alps.
The job is described as a part concierge, guest attendant, and hiking guide. The mission: “Your pleasure is the centre of our strategy”.An admirable initiative, but needs to be more substantive.
So colleagues, you have an opportunity. And, finally, just in terms of interesting additional information, Dubai also named the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs as also having a new responsibility for “The Future”. I’d say the Director of Happiness should also be in charge of The Future wouldn’t you?