Visit Palm Springs on User-Generated Content and Influencer Marketing

The team behind Visit Palm Springs saw the importance of maintaining fresh content on their website, so they came to Chute with a goal of maintaining a flow of always-updating content on their site to increase engagement and time on site. They used the Chute platform to discover and clear rights to the user-generated content being shared by real travelers. This content is now used across their site to showcase and link to local restaurants, shopping, event spaces and more.


Comparing two months before using the Chute platform to two months after, Palm Springs saw a decrease in the bounce rate on their homepage and an increase in the time visitors spent on site. Plus, they also garnered an 8% engagement rate on the displays - compared to the 5.3% industry benchmark.

  • 288+ photo added to their content library
  • $273k total cost savings
  • -10.85% decrease in home page bounce rate
  • +23% increase in time on site
  • 51% engagement rate

At Chute, we were recently joined by the marketing team behind Visit Palm Springs’ authentic marketing success: Kara Walker and Sarah Hahne. The two shared their experiences and best practices when it comes to both influencers and user-generated content (UGC) – from how to best prep for an influencer visit to a destination to promoting partners with UGC. Here, you’ll find some of the highlights from the discussion along with their results from implementing UGC, which you can watch in it’s entirety here.

On what makes *good* UGC...

This question truly comes down to audience and platform. The content that performs best on your website or in an ad may differ from what will perform best for organic social posts. Visit Palm Springs started off broadly and over time saw trends in what people were most engaging with, and used that knowledge to be even more strategic around what content they posted and where.

“We realized early on that we wanted only square images,” Hahne said. “After working with our brand person, we also realized that people in the images really work for advertising and really appeal to visitors on our website because they can see themselves in those images. However, for Instagram and our social platforms, pictures of palm trees, rainbows and mountains do really well.”

On using UGC to promote partners...

Palm Springs now features content shared by real travelers to assist in the promotion of local places to stay, dine, shop, and even get married. These pages feature carousels that visitors can scroll though. Clicking on an image allows the viewers to learn more about who took the photo and the place being featured. The visitor can then click through to learn even more about the local business mentioned.

On vetting influencers…

When it comes to working with influencers, the Visit Palm Springs team takes the time to think through 4 key factors before agreeing to work with a creator.

  1. Main Social Platform: What social platforms are they prominent on? And which is their *main* platform - i.e., are they Youtuber’s first with a community that follows them over to Instagram or Instagrammer’s first? Knowing where they post will give you a better idea of what kind of content you can ask for in return for their visit.

  2. Time of Year: This is a matter of bandwidth. If the influencer wants to come during in-season, they have to have a lot of followers to make working with them beneficial for all parties involved. During off-season times is the best time to work with influencers with smaller followings.

  3. Engagement Rate: When they post to IG, are they actually getting a good amount of engagement? This engagement rate is far more valuable than follower rates alone.

  4. Practices: Do they include the geo-location and hashtags? Even if they have a lot of followers, if they don’t do this, they won’t be super helpful in reaching actual goals.

Learn more about how Visit Palm Springs preps and works with influencers and manages their UGC tactics here