Global travel continues to evolve rapidly with technological advancements, shifting demographics and consumer attitudes. Previously known as “Travel Industry Sales,” the Tourism Development department begins 2020 with a new vision: to positively impact the Destination Development Plan’s key recommendations to meet the goal of over 16 million visitors by the year 2026 and to ensure our efforts are properly aligned with future trends in travel.

The Tourism Development team’s primary mission will be to promote Greater Palm Springs as a desired location for tourism, events, education and economic development by working closely with key clients across a broad array of industries and governments in targeted global markets. Supported by our contracted, in-market representation offices, we will ensure Greater Palm Springs stands out as a unique and welcoming destination worldwide for both tourism and commerce.

In 2020, Tourism Development will become part of the CVB’s Destination Development team to devote resources to not only continuing its focus on the travel Travel Trade and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) but also explore and create new departmental strategies for Destination Events, Education, Air & Rail Service, Tourism, Destination Stewardship and the Greater Palm Springs Tourism Foundation.

Travel Trade

Tourism Development will continue to cultivate the travel trade segment in key domestic and international markets. Building awareness via scheduling personal client meetings, hosting FAMS, conducting trainings both online and in person and leveraging support from our contracted international offices along with marketing co-ops remains a top focus. We will also align our efforts and messaging with the CVB’s PR and Marketing teams to capture consumer awareness and stimulate direct bookings.

  • Key Objectives in 2020
    • Continued focus in our domestic markets will remain a priority. We will proactively target travel agents, tour operators and travel agent associations in our primary drive and direct flight markets with sales missions, client events and destination trainings. Our key accounts for the leisure sector are luxury consortia (Virtuoso and Signature) and airline vacations, as well as tour operators focused on FIT and group travel. Greater Palm Springs is also known worldwide as a major golf destination, and we are an active member in the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO). This membership, along with our attendance at many shows and events, provides a wonderful avenue to reach golf tour operators across the world. We also work with the motor coach market through our membership in the National Tour Association (NTA) and by attending related events.
    • International markets are vital for our destination, as their primary travel period encompasses our summer months. The CVB will continue to have a strong focus on top international markets such as Canada, but our largest potential to positively impact summer low season is the overseas markets. The CVB works very closely with Visit California and their 13 international offices. This alliance provides crucial guidance in strategy and marketing efforts that we would not be able to accomplish as successfully on our own. We also have direct contracts with five offices in-market for trade representation—Australia, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom—while conducting many other ad-hoc programs with offices in South Korea, India, Japan, Italy and Scandinavia.

    Our contracted offices perform trainings, conduct client meetings, initiate marketing campaigns and provide market intelligence. Additional support is provided by our memberships with Visit USA in Scandinavia, UK, Ireland, Germany and France.

     Sales & Mkting_Travel Trade Strategy

    • Travel trade engagement is still important, and Tourism Development will maintain a high level of relationship building through various activities:
    • Continuing our annual “Agents of Chill” travel professional appreciation month each October
    • Hosting trainings and webinars to offer travel agents the opportunity for education on their own time and in the comfort of their own space
    • Attending trade shows such as IPW, Virtuoso Travel Week and Brand USA Travel Week
    • Attending dedicated sales missions, such as Visit California-organized programs
    • Hosting our own CVB missions and client events in key markets
    • Hosting client FAMS and site inspections that have a high impact on visitation and will remain a valuable tool to connect with travel professionals and key industry executives
    • Marketing directly with the travel trade through multi-level promotions brings awareness to the consumer as well as to travel agents. These promotions include direct mail, banner ads, social media components, destination landing pages, print advertising, travel agent booking incentives and email newsletters. For our international campaigns, the CVB has partnered with other California destinations to combine dollars and showcase regional itineraries that a consumer might book for their vacation.

      International consumers visit multiple locations during their stays, so it is beneficial for cities to work together to create target messaging as well as useful information for the traveler. The CVB routinely initiates marketing alliances with other regional DMOs to promote fly-drive/multi-destination itineraries. The success of this new marketing initiative will allow further expansion into new markets as well as new alliances with additional California regional CVBs. Many international countries still rely on tour brochures as their main selling tool, especially in the European markets. The CVB reviews many of our clients’ tour brochures to ensure Greater Palm Springs is positioned in a way that will attract bookings. The CVB also pays special attention to travel company websites to ensure Greater Palm Springs can easily be found online and that the images, as well as the copy, accurately portray the overall destination.

      ​The two most recent (2018) VisaVue charts below show Visa (credit card, debit cards, etc.) transactions from international visitors while in Greater Palm Springs. Data is categorized in many ways, including by cardholder’s address and country. (Note: Visa is not an officially supported bank card for mainland China residents.) This data shows the destination’s top international markets by year-over-year spend and cardholder growth, confirming our dedication to specific markets.

     Sales & Mkting_TD_VisaVue

    Sales & Mkting_TD_YOY Growth

Air & Rail Service Development

Tourism Development will create a new working relationship and synergy with the CVB’s Destination Development department as well as governmental agencies, Visit California and our contracted international offices to attract new air and rail service.

Key Air & Rail Service Objectives in 2020

Develop specific reports from Ailevon for guidance in strategy to lay the groundwork in attracting new air service from international markets
 Attend the California Rail Summit
• Build destination awareness with route planners from foreign airlines

Destination Events

The magnitude and variety of events held annually in Greater Palm Springs is second to none for a community of its size. Each event represents distinct opportunities to showcase, broadcast and introduce the destination to cultural segments from around the world. Events and festival tourism are one of the fastest growing forms of tourism and can be an important motivator for travel, both domestically and from international markets. Tourism Development will work closely with event organizers to understand their needs in marketing and sponsorship from an international scale.

Key Destination Events Objectives in 2020

Develop marketing and sponsorship strategy
 Explore package options with international airline(s)
 Conduct research on signature events’ attendees to assist strategy

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

OTAs play a critical role in distribution of rooms and rates. Technology has created significant avenues for accommodation providers to supply dynamic rates directly to consumers as well as tour operators, receptive operators and travel agencies. The dominance of digital distribution will only increase in the future, allowing the CVB’s Tourism Development team to dedicate important sales resources to these important channels.

Key OTA Objectives in 2020

Develop international marketing strategy identifying key OTAs by market and ensure synergy with our current domestic strategy
 Create master report on booking characteristics for each OTA, by market, for Greater Palm Springs
 Develop Partner outreach, education and support for an OTA strategy

Business Attraction

Tourism Development will promote the destination as a diversified community with a strong workforce and quality of life to launch and grow new business.

Key Business Attraction Objectives in 2020

Develop relationships with U.S. Commercial Services in targeted domestic and international markets to establish strategies to drive commerce and new business to Greater Palm Springs (the U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration)
Support efforts and strategy of Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP)

The Tourism Development team will remain committed to creating a dynamic Program of Work and developing co-op marketing campaigns to allow CVB Partners an opportunity to promote their business with clients across a broad array of markets. We will enhance our Partner outreach engagement to ensure our strategy is designed to best meet the needs of the destination and our Partners. Collaboration will continue with Visit California, Brand USA, Visit USA committees and our international offices in our efforts of promoting Greater Palm Springs.

Additional Tourism Development Objectives for 2020

Host memorable in-market client events and experiences to engage clients directly through our brand culture.

• Conduct 75 programs in 2020 consisting of hosting FAMs and/or site inspections; attending trade shows, sales missions, client meetings or client events; and conducting trainings, webinars and educational seminars for clients.

• Implement brand image and messaging into sales activities and trade co-op marketing campaigns by working closely with the CVB’s Marketing & Communications team. Measurable international and domestic co-op campaigns will be reviewed between each department as well as our contracted international offices to identify enhancements through collaborative efforts.
• Actively solicit feedback from our Partners via surveys and one-on-one meetings to gauge Partner interest in our activities, understand their current business levels from source markets and maintain awareness of their desired support from the CVB.

Add “VIP” client FAM visits to Greater Palm Springs. FAMs provide a high ROI and create a strong, long-lasting bond between the destination and key travel professionals. In addition to our typical FAMS, Tourism Development will conduct VIP FAMs in lieu of dedicated sales missions in New York, Southern California and Canada. These VIP FAMs will differ from our normal FAMs in that they occur in peak season and include signature experiences. Clients attending these VIP FAMs will be senior-level executives from key markets. Should clients from one of these three key markets not be included in a VIP FAM, a dedicated trade mission will typically be scheduled.

Challenge our contracted international offices to develop new, creative in-market activations, marketing campaigns and targeted training. The CVB’s Destination Development Plan will serve as a Tourism Development department blueprint while we continue to focus on the emerging markets of South Korea, Japan, Scandinavia, Italy and India by partnering with Visit California and its in-market offices on marketing campaigns and ad-hoc events. We will also identify top clients in these markets to develop bookable packages and itineraries featuring Greater Palm Springs CVB Partners.