Destination Development Plan
The CVB created a Destination Development Plan in mid-2016, a blueprint for short-term and long-term success, with goals for growing visitation and resultant jobs for all travel segments—from leisure to meetings. With the overall goal of growing annual visitation from 12.8 million to 16.8 million people by 2026, priorities were adopted to reach long-term goals and a Destination Development position was created to move the plan’s initiatives forward.
In 2018, the CVB continued to focus on goals adopted in the Destination Development Plan—a blueprint for the destination outlined in 2016 for short-term and long-term success to grow visitation and resultant jobs for both leisure and business travel segments, with an overall goal of growing annual visitation to Greater Palm Springs to 16 million people by 2020.
Below are highlights of the Destination Development Team's 2018 efforts.
Health & Wellness
• Video marketing was distributed targeting Health & Wellness
• Social media creative reflected the Live Your Wellest campaign
• Implemented a Wellest section of the website as part of a digital media plan (TravelZoo, Locale, pay-per-click)
• Published 16 articles on CVB website
• Distributed video and content on social media highlighting Outdoor Adventure
• Published 10 articles on CVB website
Arts & Culture
• Provided marketing support for signature events on social media, including the launch of Desert X
• Published 12 articles on CVB website
• Launched the Certified Tourism Ambassador™ (CTA) program to elevate the service in Greater Palm Springs in the hospitality industry
• Hospitality Program - The CVB and its Partners support the hospitality programs at California State University, San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus (CSUSB) and College of the Desert, designed to enhance skill sets that result in return tourist visitation and a continuous well-trained tourism workforce to meet the needs of our destination’s growing industry.
• In 2018, the CVB partnered with Mickey Schaefer & Associates to bring the internationally recognized Certified Tourism Ambassador™ (CTA) program to our destination. With accreditation offered through the Tourism Ambassador Institute®, the half-day program defines a new standard of excellence in the region’s growing hospitality sector. The half-day course helps pair enthusiasm about the destination with real-world expertise that makes every visitor interaction they have count. The program welcomes anyone who interacts with visitors throughout the nine cities of Greater Palm Springs oasis, from front-line hospitality employees and spa staff to business owners, tourism volunteers, and members of the community at large.
• University Growth Support - With the knowledge that continuing education plays a vital role in the local economy and that the lack of labor pool is a main obstacle in the hospitality industry, the CVB is supportive of the goal of reaching 8,000 enrolled students at California State University San Bernardino Palm Desert. To further this objective in 2018, the CVB commissioned The Economic Impact of a Fully Utilized CSUSB Palm Desert Campus: Master Plan Phase 1 through Phase 5 study.
In addition, the CVB initiated planning for the February 2019 Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball to benefit the university’s new Hospitality Management Program at the Palm Desert Campus.
Salton Sea Advocacy
• In 2018, the CVB continued its ongoing efforts to support the mitigation and revitalization of the Salton Sea, helping to protect the long-term air quality and precious wildlife of Greater Palm Springs.
For more information, you can read two past reports on the Salton Sea commissioned by the CVB: Salton Sea Economic Impact Study and Revitalized Salton Sea: Potential Economic Benefits.
Key 2018 Film Oasis Initiatives
• Secured episode dedicated to Greater Palm Springs for PBS show Samantha Brown Places to Love
• Held location scout FAM in Greater Palm Springs with six top film and TV location scouts
• Traveled to New York for desk-side meetings with top production companies and shows
• Expanded presence at Locations Expo at American Film Market by securing joint booth with Riverside County Film Commission and met with over 100 production leads
For more information about Film Oasis, contact:
The CVB marked its second year of managing and executing Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week, a 10-day dining event from June 1 to 17 that showcased a variety of eateries throughout the Coachella Valley, providing a perfect opportunity for the CVB to support the local economy and grow visitation during what is typically a slower time of year.
Guided by the dineGPS Advisory Committee, the CVB continued an extensive in-market and out-of-market media campaign, a dining guide and map, in-restaurant collateral, a website landing page, social media channels, materials in English and Spanish, media visits and a media preview event, as well as many more resources and tools.
For Greater Palm Springs to become a year-round destination, it must provide year-round air service. The CVB’s efforts in 2018 to fund additional air service with key airlines have effectively increased service for both meetings and leisure visitors.
Air Service Marketing
The CVB continued its airline marketing efforts throughout the year with airline co-ops in digital, print, out-of-home, social media and TV tactics. In addition, the CVB ran an air-service campaign to reach and influence travelers in 20 nonstop destinations including New York, Boston and Chicago.
For more information on marketing efforts for each airline, see the Destination Marketing section below.
Air Service Development
The CVB’s efforts in 2018 to fund additional air service with key airlines have effectively increased service for both meetings and leisure visitors.
The CVB has continued its commitment to crucial air service expansion by again retaining the consulting firm Ailevon Pacific Aviation Consulting in 2018. Ailevon is a leading airline development consulting company with extensive expertise in aviation and tourism. Working collaboratively with Ailevon, the goal is to expand existing air service while targeting new airlines and create both a short-term and long-term plan for future expansion.
Meetings Lost Due to Air Access CostYearMeetingsRoom NightsDelegates20184766,83825,93020177466,48329,40420166276,67229,57020153843,56421,29120142623,38614,60320133633,51014,81320123228,27713,90520113221,33415,01220104464,21421,29020097064,24616,62320083043,47413,99720071821,25111,565TOTAL462486,411202,073
A project of the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) in coordination with California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the proposed Coachella Valley–San Gorgonio Pass Rail Corridor Service would establish a new daily intercity passenger rail service between Los Angeles and Indio. The project is currently undergoing planning and initial environmental impact analysis. The CVB supports this effort to advance both sustainability and tourism.
In 2018, the CVB:
• Served as a sponsor and host of Tourism & Train Travel panel for April 2018 California Passenger Rail Summit in Los Angeles
• Supported the establishment of an Amtrak Music Festival Train in April 2019.
Research is a vital tool that informs all aspects of the CVB’s work. In 2018, we conducted studies to measure image awareness of the destination by consumers and meeting planners as well as to guide strategies that will help us better target travelers to increase visitation.
The 2018 Consumer Image Study provided us with a valuable update on consumer perceptions of the destination and what attitudes and viewpoints may have changed since the original study was conducted in 2011. The Meetings Image Study gave us important insights on how to optimize our brand messaging for groups and grow our meetings market.
● Greater Palm Springs 2018 Consumer Image Awareness Study
Strategic Marketing and Research Insights
● 2018 Greater Palm Springs Image and Awareness – Meetings
VisaVue and Advertising Effectiveness Studies
The VisaVue and Advertising Effectiveness studies guide the Marketing and Brand teams’ strategies for targeting, messaging and delivery method to reach travelers and increase visitation.
● VisaVue: Domestic Market Research 2018
In Partnership with Visit California
● VisaVue: International Market Research 2018
In Partnership with Visit California
● Advertising Effectiveness: Getaway/Drive Markets 2018
Strategic Marketing and Research Insights
● Advertising Effectiveness: Vacation Markets 2018
Strategic Marketing and Research Insights
For more information about Destination Development initiatives contact:
Bob Thibault | Chief Development Officer
In 2018, Convention Sales exceeded all its goals, surpassed its room night goals by 12% and solidified its valley-wide reach. We also focused on conducting advanced Site Experience training for the sales team and CVB Partners, enhancing each meeting planner’s destination experience, thereby increasing awareness and booking opportunities. Based on our 2018 Meetings Image & Awareness Study findings, we worked with the CVB Brand and Marketing departments to expand on new advertising opportunities and social media exposure to correct misperceptions about Greater Palm Springs as a meetings destination. Brand started creating small video vignettes highlighting the variety of meeting properties, ease of getting here, offsite venues and unique spaces, showcasing all that our Modern Meeting Oasis has to offer our groups.
For more information about Convention Sales, contact:
Mark Crabb | Chief Sales Officer
Travel Industry Sales
Travel Industry Sales met with a record number of travel professionals across the world in 2018, providing destination training, implementing marketing campaigns and creating inspiration to impact occupancy in summer and fall as well as grow market share in peak season. Exposing key clients to the destination remained a core activity for TIS along with developing creative booking options such as partnering with other Southern California destinations to promote multi-center fly/drive holidays.
For more information about Travel Industry Sales, contact:
Gary Orfield | Director of Travel Industry Sales
In 2018, Destination Services supported the sales teams and CVB initiatives through creative event planning, client servicing and client-in-destination experiences. Out-of-market events were planned and built around the pillars of the Destination Development Plan. In-market client engagement reinforced the ease of access, Partner collaboration and destination attributes. As a result, Greater Palm Springs was brought to more than 30 cities and introduced to hundreds of clients.
For more information about Destination Services contact:
Jill Philbrook | Director of Destination Services
The objective of the CVB’s advertising is to build awareness of the Greater Palm Springs brand as a travel destination.
For more information about Destination Marketing contact:
Colleen Pace | Chief Marketing Officer
Awareness building media included print, out-of-home and television tactics.
Print media included in-flight publications and allows the destination to partner with airlines to develop special sections reaching travelers in key fly/vacation markets.
Out-of-home media allowed the destination to reach large populations through outdoor digital billboard advertising in busy metropolitan areas in drive/getaway and fly/vacation markets.
Television included Spectrum cable, Canadian Broadcast Network, KTLA, and WGN Chicago.
Regional Marketing Campaign
January – December
Based on visitor research, the “Drive/Getaway Markets” remained the top markets throughout the entire year. As a result, marketing initiatives in these areas were implemented year-round.
Markets: Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Phoenix
17.8+ Million Impressions
Summer Chill Guide – Palm Springs Life | The Guide – Palm Springs Life | Locale Magazine |
VIA (So Cal, AAA) | Westways (Nor Cal, AAA)
179.4+ Million Impressions
Expedia | Locale | Paid Search | Social Media | SpaFinder | Travelzoo | TripAdvisor
*Digital impressions are reflective of national campaign
233.3+ Million Impressions
Los Angeles/Orange County | San Diego | San Francisco
20.6+ Billion Impressions /1.3M TV Spots
Los Angeles/Orange County | Phoenix | San Diego | Las Vegas | San Francisco
National Marketing Campaign
January – April & August – December
The “vacation” markets tend to invest more time and planning into their trip, which typically takes place on a seasonal basis. Therefore, marketing initiatives in these areas were implemented during the destination’s peak and shoulder season months.
Markets: Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Minneapolis, Denver, Dallas, Boston, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Winnipeg
20.8+ Million Impressions
Alaska Airlines Magazine | WestJet Magazine | Sunset Magazine | Golf Magazine | The Knot
179.4+ Million Impressions
Expedia | Paid Search | Social Media | SpaFinder | Travelzoo | TripAdvisor | Verve | AllTrails
118+ Million Impressions
Chicago | Minneapolis | New York
7.4+ Billion Impressions / 1.1M TV Spots
Vancouver | Calgary | Edmonton | Toronto | Winnipeg | Chicago | Denver | Minneapolis | New York | Portland | Seattle | Dallas | Boston | Philadelphia
Summer Co-Op Campaign
May – August
267K TV Spots / 16.9+ Billion Impressions
Following the successful 2017 program, the CVB continued the Summer Chill Television Co-Op for 2018. This program was designed to leverage Partner advertising budgets, while increasing exposure in our destination’s drive market during the summertime.
Summer Chill Television Co-Op were shown on Spectrum and KTLA. Spectrum markets include Los Angeles/Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Pheonix. KTLA includes Los Angeles.
16 Co-Op Partners
Agua Caliente | BMW Performance Center | City of Indian Wells | City of La Quinta | City of Palm Desert / Shops on El Paseo | City of Palm Desert / Hotel Paseo | Hyatt Regency Indian Wells | JW Marriott Desert Springs | La Quinta Resort & Club | Miramonte Resort & Spa | Omni Rancho Las Palmas | Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism | Renaissance Indian Wells | Riviera Palm Springs | Westin Mission Hills | Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week
Fall Co-Op Campaign
September – December
64,743K TV Spots / 4.8 Billion Impressions
In an effort to impact the fall and winter seasons and continue the destination’s television presence, the Fall TV Co-op continued in 2018. In addition to reaching “Drive/Getaway Markets,” the Chicago market was targeted via cable television and WGN (KTLA affiliate).
The following TV Spots were shown on Spectrum, KTLA and WGN. Spectrum markets include Los Angeles/Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Pheonix. KTLA includes Los Angeles. WGN includes Chicago.
7 Co-Op Partners
BMW Performance Center | BNP | City of La Quinta | City of Palm Desert/Hotel Paseo | Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism | Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels | Desert Classic
Airline Marketing Campaign
Air Canada Co-Op (Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver)
September-February | Co-branded TV Spots | Impressions: 145.7M+
Digital display ads | Social Media – Facebook, Instagram
Delta Airlines Co-Op (Atlanta)
October-February | Co-branded TV spots | Impressions: 72.5M+
Digital billboards – September | Delta Sky Club digital poster | Delta Vacations BDM & agent flyers | Delta Vacations University booth sponsorship
Digital display ads | Delta Vacations travel agent email | Weekly sales email
Flair Air Co-Op (Edmonton)
November-February | Co-branded TV spots | Impressions: 29M+
Digital airport billboards – Edmonton Airport | Digital billboards – Edmonton | Radio ads – Edmonton, Winnipeg
Digital display ads | Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
JetBlue Co-Op (New York)
August-April | Co-branded TV spots | Impressions: 611.9M+
Digital display ads | Social Media – Facebook
JetBlue Co-Op (Boston)
November-March | Co-branded TV Spots | Impressions: 2163M+
WestJet (Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary)
September-February | Co-branded TV spots | Impressions: 112.1M+
August-December | Digital ads on WestJet.com | Digital ads on WestJet Connect in-flight entertainment system | Digital ads in JetMail Frequent Flyer newsletter | Digital display advertising | Social media & blog posts
In-Flight Magazine | Advertorial sections in February, March, and November issues | Impressions: 5.4M+
Convention Sales Marketing
3M+ Total Impressions
Conference Direct Meeting Mentor | CVENT | MPI | PCMA Convene | ASAE | Meetings Today | Smart Meetings | Successful Meetings | California Meetings & Events | MBOX
Travel Industry Sales Marketing
Brand USA Co-Op | Visit California Co-Op | TripAdvisor China | Signature Travel | Ensemble Travel | Virtuoso
For more information about Destination Marketing contact:
Dana Fury | Marketing Manager
The Communications team worked with local, domestic and international media pitching story ideas, hosting press trips and responding to inquires in order to garner positive editorial for Greater Palm Springs as a destination of choice for leisure visitors and meetings and conventions. In addition, the team hit the road to take the Greater Palm Springs message to key media marketplaces, missions and events. With the aim to increase awareness for Greater Palm Springs on the international front, the Communications team worked with international offices in the U.K., Australia, Germany, France and China and with Visit California to build consumer awareness through media exposure. The CVB’s Destination Development Plan was a continued focus for the team.
Top 5 Communications Highlights
• Partnered with airlines to host five media familiarization tours
• Conducted one-on-one meetings-focused appointments with media at IMEX America
• Co-hosted Greater Palm Springs Dinner at the James Beard House in New York City
• Participated in Wellness Tourism Association as first domestic destination member
• Kicked off “wellest” season with events in Los Angeles and San Francisco
Key 2018 Communications Stats
Earned Media for Destination $43+ Million Increase over 2017 36% Total Circulation and Unique Views 1.5 Billion Media Visits and Group FAMs Hosted 159 Domestic and International Media Missions and Events Participated in 23 Total Earned Articles 579 Partner Mentions 2,254
For more information about Communications contact:
Greater Palm Springs Communications Team | firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2018, the CVB contracted with two travel data partners to better track the effectiveness of our digital media plan and website. The two data providers are Adara and Arrivalist. Findings from both travel data partners will help inform the digital media strategy in 2019.
Adara and Arrivalist - Travel Data
Adara – Booking Data Arrivalist – Arrival Data Tracks users exposed to paid media, paid social media or CVB website Tracks users exposed to TripAdvisor campaign or CVB website Tracks hotel bookings, hotel revenue and air bookings through a 60-day pixel Tracks a visitor’s actual arrival into the destination through geolocation on their mobile device Cookies must be enabled Cookies and geolocation on the user’s mobile device must be enabled
The CVB also moved to a new email automation software, Act-On. This software allows the CVB to more strategically engage with audiences through email by implementing automation campaigns and segmentation. The migration was completed in late 2018 and automation strategies will be implemented into the 2019 email marketing efforts.
In 2018, Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns ran on both Google and Bing. These campaigns were optimized on an ongoing basis and drove the following results:
• CPC: $0.34
• Sessions: 1,319,031
• Page views: 2,935,292
For more information about Digital Marketing contact:
Marissa Willman | Director of Digital Marketing
In 2018, the CVB relaunched the website on a new platform, allowing the ability to better optimize SEO and create A/B testing ensuring the website offered an improved user experience. We focused more on organic traffic, which increased 96% over 2017. We are also using a mobile-first responsive design since mobile use has increased by 171% and desktop use decreased by 56%.
2018 Website Integrations and Initiatives
- AudioEye: Integrated option to allow the website to be accessible to all and optimized for Assistive Technology users.
- Dynamic content: Implemented personas and profiles to target visitor interests and geo-locations.
- Booking engine: Added a booking widget by Ares in order to capture hotel, flight and attraction bookings.
- DTN: Revenue generator that allows partners to purchase featured placement giving them added exposure.
Key 2018 Website Stats
Sessions on the Website 2.9 Million 2% Increase Page Views 6.3 Million 10% Decrease Pages per Session 2.17 9% Decrease Average Session Duration 2:19 2% Increase Bounce Rate 28.72% 22% Decrease
For more information about the Website contact:
Marissa Willman | Director of Digital Marketing
In 2018, the CVB continued to work with contracted agency Sparkloft to create engaging social content for a targeted audience. In addition to follower goals, the CVB added engagement goals for the main social channels. In 2018, we surpassed all engagement and fan goals. A number of campaigns were run through 2018, including the Chill Challenge, Chill Deals and the Wellest program. These campaigns provided specific calls to action for seasonally specific content with the goal of increasing engagement.
In addition to the core targeted audiences, two additional retargeting streams were used to deliver content with greater context to users. The streams included users from website traffic and users who had previously engaged with Visit Greater Palm Springs on Facebook and Instagram.
In 2018, the CVB also launched a number of new social media channels to distribute content. These new social platforms included a meetings awareness campaign, Instagram and Twitter channels for VisitCADeserts, and Weibo for the Chinese market. The CVB dineGPS channels also continue to grow and shed light on the culinary scene in Greater Palm Springs.
Key 2018 Social Media StatsTotal Video Views9.1 Million Video Views33% Increase350,565 Fans32% IncreaseFacebook Engagement61,785 Engagements19,899 Followers36% IncreaseInstagram Engagement329,015 Engagements41,533 Followers15% IncreaseTwitter Engagement17,390 Engagements
For more information on Social Media contact:
Krystal Kusmieruk | Social Media Manager
As an extension of the CVB Brand department, the content creation team produced a variety of videos geared towards the strengths of each social channel. Our mission is to produce entertaining video content that builds relationships with consumers through a steady stream of engaging, awe-inspiring and motivating storytelling. Video content showcases CVB Partners and supports the Greater Palm Springs Destination Development Plan pillars of Outdoor Adventure, Health & Wellness and Art & Culture, promoting the destination’s unique geography, incredible experiences and vast diversity.
Key 2018 Video Stats
New National Broadcast Spots Created 16 Videos Produced 64 Partners, Activities and Events Highlighted 184 Video Views on YouTube 6.8+ Million
For more information on Video Content contact:
Anndee Laskoe | Director of Brand Content
In 2018, Partnership moved from Destination Services to the new Destination Development department. Our tourism Partners are essential to meeting the goals of the Destination Development Plan (DDP), and this new alignment served to coalesce our partnership efforts, benefits and communications around the strategies set forth in the DDP.
New advertising opportunities on the CVB’s website, partner events highlighting DDP initiatives and expanded Partnerships with local chambers of commerce and other business organizations have broadened our local reach and increased Partner engagement and participation.
Certified Tourism Ambassador
In 2018, the CVB contracted with the Tourism Ambassador Institute® to begin offering official Certified Tourism Ambassador™ training and designation here in Greater Palm Springs. The process included a series of focus groups with industry stakeholders and a subject matter expert panel to help develop the curriculum specific to our destination.
The logo and official name of our destination’s CTA program, Greater Palm Springs Tourism Ambassador, were finalized.
The design of the logo conveys a welcoming message with hands representing our destination ambassadors who help make visiting GPS special. The intertwining hands form a star, which is the signature of the Certified Tourism Ambassador™ program worldwide, with our destination’s nine-looped infinity logo inside.
More information on the program is available on IamGreaterPS.com. Official Certified Tourism Ambassador™ designation will result from completing the Greater Palm Springs Tourism Ambassador Program in our destination. The program was launched in early 2019, with a CVB goal to have a diverse group of police officers, public officials, board members, media and of course hotel, restaurant, taxi cab, attraction, retail and other tourism Partners certified
For more information about the CTA program contact:
Erica Abarca | Partnership Manager
For more information about Partnership contact:
Davis Meyer | Director of Partnership