GRWM: Behind-the-scenes prep for GSMCON in Palm Springs, CA

Nov 02, 2023

Contributed blog by Ariana Donley, Social Media Manager at Government Social Media

Like many socialgovs, I look forward to the Government Social Media Conference each year. The next GSMCON begins in April 2024 and I recently joined Team GSM in getting a sneak peek of the event space. I couldn’t be more excited to tell you all about what to look forward to and what to expect! 

But first, here’s a quick TL;DR – our next conference will be in Palm Springs, California from April 16-18, 2024 (with pre-conference, in-person workshops on April 15). GSMCON is a hybrid conference with 2.5 days of training, networking, awards and after-hours fun. We’re anticipating in-person ticket sales for GSMCON2024 will hit capacity before our original plan to close registration in early April 2024, so if you’re planning to join hundreds of government professionals for the spectacular in-person event, we encourage you to register to reserve your spot sooner rather than later.

I’m so excited to share the new details with you that I filmed a GRWM (Get Ready With Me) before my flight back home. If you’d rather listen than read (or have any makeup tips that slay!), you can check that out below.


The venue

After a long day of being in mom-mode followed by late afternoon airport travel from Nebraska to California, I arrived at the Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa after dark. As soon as I saw the property, I got a sudden burst of energy. Even at night, the property is breathtaking! 

The next morning, I opened my curtains to see a gorgeous view of the golf course with the mountain range in the background. Pictures just can’t do it justice – and the pictures themselves are beautiful. 

Before meeting up with the rest of Team GSM and the hotel staff, I toured the property solo. Between Coffee-ology, Pinz & Pintz (with games and a daily complimentary happy hour!), the Chef’s Secret Window and Pinzimini, there are plenty of onsite dining options to fuel your day.

Looking for a spot to socialize or a quiet area to enjoy your morning coffee? You’ll find three pools — an adult-only pool, a tranquil setting and a large resort-style pool with giant water slides and cabanas — and large seating areas, complete with firepits. There’s also an upscale gym complete with stationary Peloton bikes and actual bikes you can rent free of charge to go sightseeing. 

What I love most about the resort is how much time you get to spend outdoors. Rooms are located in separate buildings and you can take a path by the golf course to walk to the lobby and conference rooms. Also within the conference space, there are courtyards with ample seating to grab extra fresh air between sessions. Golf carts run by hotel staff are available for guests to catch a ride through the property. Mobility services and other accommodations are also available from the hotel staff. 

If you’re an animal lover, you’ll also enjoy the resort’s four-legged friends. The resort partnered with a local animal rescue to host an adoptable dog in the front lobby (who has their own mini replica of the resort as their home). During your stay, you can take the dog on walks or even fill out an application to take them home with you! Near the resort restaurant Pinzimini, two large tortoises are also on exhibit, and you can watch them get fed every Wednesday at 9am.  

BTW – if you’d like to stay at the resort for easy access to the conference sessions and amenities, I recommend booking under our special GSMCON room block sooner rather than later. Rooms have been filling up fast!

The team

Enter - Team GSM! We were onsite for two full days of productive event planning to not only get a strong sense of the layout of the property, but also to plot out your attendee experience, including future locations of sessions, VIP-only areas, the Welcome Reception and so much more.

GSMCON is the largest social media conference for government, and providing a quality experience for attendees is a top priority for Team GSM. We met with the property’s event manager to get the best understanding of each available space and for a full, guided tour of the property to ensure that your needs as an attendee are met during the conference. We can’t wait for you to experience special areas like the Welcome Reception, VIP dinner & networking activity and so much more!

While onsite, we also met with other key members that help make your experience at GSMCON an event to remember. We met with the head chef to plan meal services during the event (in-person attendees get 3 continental breakfasts and 2 lunches including in your ticket price) and how we will effectively accommodate any dietary restrictions. We also sat down with members of the A/V team to walk through programming and to ensure a positive experience for both in-person and virtual attendees. 

At a later date, we’ll have additional attendee accommodations available at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa as well. We also toured that property and met with the event staff to see the rooms and onsite amenities through the eyes of our socialgov guests. You’ll find plenty of dining options, amenities and more.

FYI – you can subscribe to the GSMCON newsletter to get the most up-to-date information on the event.

Exploring Palm Springs

After conference hours, we invite you to explore the area! While the resorts have plenty of fun amenities, we understand you may want to hit the town and explore, so, we took a short trip and visited Downtown Palm Springs as a team to scope it out for you.

There is no shortage of unique restaurants and shops. Whether you’d like to splurge on a high-end luxury item or save some money, there are options – even a store where every clothing item is $17.99 (or less!).

What we’ve heard from locals is that there’s always something fun to do in Palm Springs. If you’re an avid hiker, or just want to take a beautiful stroll, there are breathtaking hiking trails to go experience. There are also museums, like the Air Museum and Art Museum, the Moorten Botanical Garden and so much more to explore.

Final thoughts

I arrived in Palm Springs excited for GSMCON and left counting down the days. The entirety of Team GSM has put so much time and thought into pre-planning for the best possible experience for the hundreds of government professionals coming to GSMCON2024! I’m so excited to share this experience with you all and to see all of our returning and new socialgov friends in April. 

Meet the author

Ariana Donley

Social Media Manager–Government Social Media LLC

Ariana graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Human Rights. She spent several years in the TV news industry and also served the Birmingham Police Department initially as a Crime Prevention Officer and later as the first Public Relations Manager. She is passionate about GSM's mission and and enjoys the positive and supportive team work environment.

Best communicate with the public you serve and get connected with fellow socialgovs by registering for the 2024 Government Social Media Conference happening in Palm Springs, California or virtually from wherever you are! Join our free network for bi-weekly Government Social Media Chats or professional association for member-only webinars. Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on training, events and more.

We support the largest network of government social media professionals in the U.S. by guiding government agencies through complex social media issues. Government Social Media helps you successfully communicate with the public you serve, protect your agency and keep public trust while finding your support community. 


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