Getting Organized

Experience Grand Rapids (ExGR), one of Michigan’s most active destination tourism companies, came to Barberstock when their outdated internal server system began costing them both time and money. By replacing their old server (which required employees to manually deliver photos to users) with Barberstock’s technology, they were able to increase their external image downloads greatly, while also accumulating over 350 users—including new destination partners. More importantly, the new system has saved the company from the arduous and time-consuming process of finding and delivering photos manually—a benefit that makes image sharing faster and more convenient for both users and employees.


About Experience Grand Rapids

As the second-largest city in Michigan and the most vibrant downtown area between Chicago and Cleveland, Grand Rapids has all the benefits of a big city with none of the hassle. As the city’s official tourism convention and visitors bureau, Experience Grand Rapids relies heavily on photos to ensure tourists, locals and partners have the best visuals of the area and its hot spots.


The Challenge

Experience Grand Rapids approached Barberstock in September 2013. They were managing their digital assets on an internal server after trying an alternate solution that failed to meet their organizational needs. Their website included a photo library where external users could request photos, however, only a limited number of photos were accessible and each photo request was fulfilled manually. After recognizing that their current photo management process was not efficient, ExGR sought out a more comprehensive asset management system.


The Solution

ExGR needed a system that could house a large amount of photos in one central place all while being intuitive and easy to use. Barberstock met those requirements. To validate their decision, their team connected with other destinations using Barberstock and received very positive feedback. All clients they reached out to were extremely happy with their platform and service.

Upon the initial setup, ExGR sent in over 8000 images to be uploaded to their system. The Barberstock team worked with their marketing department to establish an efficient way to organize and tag all of these photos. Working in quantities of 1000, the ExGR team went through and identified the images that weren’t necessary, then applied titles, keywords and use information to each asset via metadata spreadsheets. They selected just over 2700 key images to retain in their library, all of which were organized and made searchable. After 6 months of use, the ExGR team decided to add folders to their platform in order to categorize each photo and give users a preview of the type of content available. It was a simple and quick process to implement the setup.


The Result

Four years into using the system, over 6500 images have been downloaded from the ExGR digital asset library. They have also accumulated over 350 users—including media, partners and employees—from all kinds of industries. Internally, Barberstock has been a huge asset to the marketing department, making photo requests much easier and less time consuming. Plus, it has enhanced their distribution process by giving external audiences the ability to download the best photos of Grand Rapids to use as they please. Another benefit has been the “Collections” feature, which allows ExGR to send curated photo collections outside the system, a function that is handy for times when they don’t want to add new users to the platform. Additionally, with the “Approval” function, they have full control over who has access to their platform, allowing them to identify who is downloading their content, and for what purpose.