The level of engagement and commitment of the local tourism and hospitality industry is intrinsic to the success of Visit GPS' Destination Development Plan. Under the aegis of the Destination Development department, the Partnership team is the key liaison between Visit GPS and hospitality and tourism Partners. The team works closely with Partners to discern their business objectives and develops innovative programs, new opportunities and strategic enterprises aimed at increasing awareness of Partner companies and organizations. Partnership focuses on expanding community relationships with a shared interest in promoting the destination through Partner participation in special events, communications, and a wide range of marketing and sales opportunities.
Partnership Retention & Growth
Partnership will remain focused on the following priorities in 2019: expanding awareness of Visit GPS Partner marketing and advertising opportunities, and providing educational and networking resources to advance knowledge and synergistic relationships within the destination.
In 2019, Partnership will move forward on objectives to grow and retain investing Partners by promoting strategic opportunities to gain exposure. Partners can capitalize on the following:
- advertising platforms on the Visit GPS website
- booking engine integration for hotels and attractions
- the Chill campaign, providing an online showcase to market year-round promotions and packages
- co-op advertising campaigns, furthering awareness and driving visitation and sales
- collaboration with Palm Springs Life magazine, including directory listings and special advertising incentives
In 2019, The Partnership team will also advance efforts to build relationships with third-party clients like TravelZoo to offer special discounts and benefits to investing Partners.
Additional 2019 Partner Initiatives
● Enhanced CVB Website Functionality for Partners: In 2019, the CVB will introduce Marketplace to the extranet for greater user involvement and engagement. This option grants Partners further control of their presence and flow of information throughout CVB channels. CVB Partners will continue to enjoy access to the latest research and other useful tools via extranet access.
The Partnership team will implement plans to expedite the application process to become a CVB Partner by creating an interactive form on the CVB website. We will also include interactive applications for Oasis Award nominations, Foundation Scholarships and related documents.
● Expanded Partner Outreach: Supporting new and existing educational opportunities, as well as acknowledging exceptional performance within the local hospitality industry, play a vital role in ensuring the destination’s success and prosperity.
To this end, recognizing that exemplary customer service is a year-round endeavor, tourism and hospitality executives have the opportunity to acknowledge employees who exceed the standard of excellence through the CVB’s Above + Beyond initiative. All honorees receive special certificates, and selected candidates are also profiled on the CVB website.
In 2018, the CVB hosted 18 Partner events, including the annual Oasis Awards, CVB Holiday Business Reception, and Travel Rally Day in support of National Travel and Tourism Week. In addition to the return of these events, in 2019 the CVB will host collaborative functions with Chambers of Commerce and tourism-related associations to heighten awareness of CVB initiatives and Partner benefits.
Partnership will also present informative boot camps for Partners that focus on specific topics, such as social media marketing. Seminars may include presentations from third-party advertisers, like TripAdvisor and OpenTable, sharing significant recommendations for staying competitive in the market.
Partnership will continue to distribute the weekly “In the Loop” newsletter to keep Partners apprised of CVB events and initiatives, assist in maximizing Partnership benefits, and provide valuable information on a variety of topics.
In February 2019, the CVB will host GPS Next – Tourism Highlights & Insights. The agenda will include updates on the CVB sales and marketing plan, international travel outlook, and opportunities for 2019 and beyond.
● Increased Partner Promotion & Awareness: In 2019, the CVB will strive to further promote awareness within the local tourism-related business community as to the wide spectrum of benefits available to CVB Partners. Communications channels will include social media and custom videos created in-house by the CVB, with many featuring current CVB Partners.
In 2019, the Partnership team will continue to gather and curate Partner marketing collateral to ensure the Visitor Center inventory remains relevant, up-to-date and informative. With Visitor Center merchandise representing all nine cities, inventory will be further enhanced with memorable gifts and souvenirs to maximize the visitor experience.
Certified Ambassador (CTA) Program
As identified in the Destination Development Plan, access to education and continuing education are paramount to achieving and maintaining a thriving tourism industry, skilled workforce and robust economy. Visit GPS and its Partners will need to provide continued support to the growing hospitality programs at California State University San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus and College of the Desert.
Visit GPS introduced the Greater Palm Springs Tourism Ambassador program in 2018 to augment existing educational opportunities and maintain the highest standards for excellence in the local tourism and hospitality community. Accredited through the Tourism Ambassador Institute®, the program is designed to elevate performance, enhance the visitor experience, and increase tourism in the destination.
In 2019, in the program’s first full year of operation, Visit GPS seeks to certify 500 local Tourism Ambassadors. Trainings will be held at various Partner sites throughout the region in the format of half-day interactive sessions that demonstrate the vital importance of tourism and its direct impact on the destination when visitor expectations are exceeded.
The CTA curriculum is designed to engage groups around a deep understanding of the history and highlights of the region. Graduates of the GPS Tourism Ambassador program will receive the official “CTA” designation upon completion of the program and will be required to participate in continuing education activities to maintain annual certification.
The brand campaign for the Tourism Ambassador program is built around and inspires pride in our distinctive destination by offering the highest standard of visitor service as indicated by the branding IAmGreaterPS, associated with the overall theme and mission of the program.
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