• Regional Collaboration & Wayfinding

    It is imperative for the nine cities and organizations throughout the Coachella Valley to work collaboratively. VGPS will actively advocate for organizational priorities that will benefit not only the visitor experience but also the day-to-day lives of our residents, including a standalone Cal State Campus in Palm Desert, a COD culinary and hospitality training facility and program that meets the needs of our destination, rail service, international air service, shade trees and structures, regional mobility, wayfinding, broadband, solutions for workforce housing and homelessness, and action at the Salton Sea. This includes communicating our priorities to elected officials and lawmakers, highlighting progress and opportunities in presentations to partners and community members, and sharing opportunities for partners or those in the community to support. 

    VGPS will partner with CVAG to advocate and explore funding options for I-10 corridor beautification. We will also promote awareness of grant opportunities for new vehicle e-charging stations along the I-10 corridor and advocate for improved wayfinding to vehicle e-charging stations. We will continue to advocate with the cities for additional wayfinding to visitor points of interest throughout the Coachella Valley. We will also work with CVAG and the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy to add water and shade locations to our hiking maps as well as encourage other organizations to add these to their guides. 

  • Our Key Pillars

    Destination Development icons

    By targeting marketing efforts and new product development on the unique assets (key pillars) that speak to the positive, authentic experiences available in all nine cities—Health & Wellness, Outdoor Experiences, Arts & Culture, LGBTQ+, DEICulinary, and Sustainability—these key pillars are leveraged in a coordinated way. New events, conferences, programs, and marketing efforts based on these assets benefit both the resident and the visitor, and the destination brand is strengthened.

  • Product Development

    The success of the Destination Development Plan is dependent on each of the nine cities’ ability to engage the modern traveler through product enhancements of hotels, attractions and events, as well as initiate new developments and experiences with a broad range of appeal to different demographics. As each municipality creates its budgets and redefines its development plans, collaboration with VGPS to leverage the brand momentum of Greater Palm Springs and market to potential visitors will accelerate efforts to attract more visitors.

  • Visitor Experience and Wayfinding

    Adding unified signage and banners throughout the nine cities for signature events, attractions, event facilities and difficult-to-locate amenities is a long-term effort that will enhance the visitor experience through wayfinding while helping to unite and promote the destination. Additionally, the I-10 corridor does not reflect the same atmosphere as the destination, and there is an opportunity to beautify and add signage promoting attractions and key points around the valley. Ideas for consideration include digital billboards for each city displaying main attractions and events and creating a landmark “entrance” to Greater Palm Springs that lights up at night.

  • Transportation Access

    Transportation availability, from airlift to rail service, also remains an important focus as our organization extends our efforts beyond marketing to include destination management as a means to ensure our tourism economy continues to grow and thrive. 

    While 2022 was a record year for PSP with over 1.48 million people flying into our destination and seat capacity growth continuing to outpace the national average, we will need to stay focused on air service development to meet our 2026 goals. To do this, we’re looking to grow nonstop service during the summer months and add seasonal service from New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta, and Chicago. Beyond domestic airlift, we are partnering with Palm Springs International Airport to conduct a feasibility study on adding an international terminal to attract nonstop service from Mexico, additional cities in Canada, and London/Frankfurt. The long-range goal is to position Greater Palm Springs as an alternative gateway to the Southwest and Southern California.  

    To help sustainably increase regional travel, VGPS has been advocating for the Coachella Valley-San Gorgonio Pass Rail Service Project — a once-in-a-generation transformational project to create daily rail service between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley. Such an addition would serve to connect our diverse communities, spur economic growth and prosperity, and provide mobility options to our growing region.  

  • Workforce Development

    Workforce DevelopmentAfter the pandemic, the hospitality industry struggled to rehire staff. At the same time, the perception of the industry by high school and college students is not favorable. VGPS engaged One Future Coachella Valley to assist us with educating students about our industry and the opportunities for scholarships and internships that are available. Working through the Tourism Foundation, the partnership strategy includes providing student scholarships, mentorship and networking opportunities, increasing work experience opportunities, establishing a regional undergraduate internship program in hospitality, and engaging regional hospitality executives to provide expertise, among other objectives. VGPS also formed an HR steering committee to work with One Future Coachella Valley, College of the Desert, and Cal State to grow the local hospitality workforce and develop programs to help our existing team members learn essential skills to advance into leadership positions.  

    To lead our workforce development initiatives and ambitious goal of making our industry and region one of the most sustainable and accessible destinations in world, VGPS hired Lauren Bruggemans as Director of Sustainability and Community Engagement. While our destination is recognized as inclusive where everyone is welcome and appreciated, we understand the importance of continuous learning, and in 2022 we hired Travel Unity to look at our organizational policies, procedures, and culture related to DEI. We learned a lot through that process, and we are now embarking on a long-term DEI initiative to bring Travel Unity’s expertise to our stakeholders and partners.   

    Bruggemans will also oversee growth of the TEAM GPS program, including marketing efforts such as a TEAM GPS Champions Pass, three new social media channels (@TeamGreaterPS) created to raise community engagement and awareness of the program and support community and partnership events. The development of a TEAM GPS Champions online, self-paced course in partnership with COD’s PaCE program will help make receiving a TEAM GPS certificate more accessible. 

  • International Visitation

    International VisitationA coordinated strategy led by VGPS focuses on impactful feeder destinations and leverages assets throughout all nine cities to grow international travel to Greater Palm Springs. VGPS works with offices fulltime in the UK, Australia, France, Germany, and China and with offices in South Korea, India, Italy, and Scandinavia on special projects to reach travel agents, tour operators and receptive operators. Additionally, VGPS reaches out to international consumers through media relations and FAMs.

    In addition, there are continuing efforts for the establishment of immigration and customs facilities at the Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) for international charter flights, as well as expansion from Canada and the addition of new markets like Mexico and Asia.

  • Demand for Off-Season and Midweek

    VGPS has been focusing on growing off-season leisure visitation through coordinated marketing efforts to the drive/getaway markets of Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. For group business and conferences, past research has shown that a large percentage of meeting planners are unaware of the savings and concessions available during the summer months, especially midweek, and VGPS has been working closely with destination Partners to increase client engagement through direct sales efforts, social media, advertising, sponsorships, media and promotional efforts.

  • Sustainability

    SustainabilityEco-tourism—which unites the ideas of conservation, community and sustainable travel into one experience—is a fast-growing sector of the industry and one that Greater Palm Springs could “own” with a concerted, coordinated effort. CVAG is accumulating a list of the sustainable practices of all nine cities and venues and will collaborate with VGPS and its Partners to make a comprehensive and on-going list that can be marketed. Doing so would aid in overcoming the misperception that the region overuses water.

    In addition, VGPS is continuing its support of bringing public awareness to the need to restore the Salton Sea and is maintaining continued coordination with public agencies, including the Salton Sea Authority, the Salton Sea Action Committee, CVAG and others. Also, VGPS will continue to promote events at the Salton Sea that drive outdoor recreation possibilities.

  • DestinationNEXT Key Findings

    A recent research project, DestinationNEXT, revealed additional key components for the destination. Overall, Greater Palm Springs was identified in the study as being an established destination with strong community engagement. 

    To maintain this strong position, the destination needs to be mindful of these key strategic challenges: avoiding complacency; continuing to evolve the destination to deliver a compelling and authentic marketplace experience; keeping an eye on the ball; and maintaining & building regional collaboration & community support.

    Greater Palm Springs is above industry average in destination strength and community support & engagement, and its stakeholders are aligned on perceptions about destination and community support. To maintain this position of strength, the following destination opportunities for continued focus have been identified.

    Transportation: Improve transportation to and within Greater Palm Springs. Areas of focus:

    • Annual air access
    • Road congestion (from the drive market)
    • Public transportation (especially for hospitality workers)
    • Mobility: bike-friendly, walkability, access for those with disabilities

    Visitor Engagement: Ensure that the destination continues to engage visitors in creative and innovative ways.

    Large-Scale Meeting & Events Venues: Develop a feasibility plan for meeting facilities in the destination for next 10 years, and explore the development of sporting event venues.

    Broadband: Improve communication and Internet infrastructure (broadband width and capacity) to attract a creative and high-tech industries, and consider public Wi-Fi.

    Community Support: Keep residents informed of the economic benefits of tourism to the region and efforts being made toward continued growth, and remain focused on improving the local workforce through education.

  • Visit Greater Palm Springs Organizational Core Values

    Through employee collaboration and input, the following core values—Balance, Collaboration, Community, Inclusion, Innovation, Integrity, and Passion—were established for our organization. We uphold these values in everything we do, from reaching out and interacting with visitors, our partners, and our community to embodying the values each day as we go about our work.

    Core Value - Balance

    Core Value - Collaboration

    Core Value - Community

    Core Value - Inclusion

    Core Value - Innovation

    Core Value - Integrity

    Core Value - Passion