Arkansas Tourism Issues Advertising RFP

Arkansas Tourism Issues Advertising RFP

The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism has issued a RFP for an advertising agency.

With enabling legislation dating back to the 1920s and 30s, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism is a cabinet-level agency charged with enhancing the state’s quality of life by promoting, protecting, interpreting, and managing Arkansas’s natural and cultural resources.

Results from the two additional funding sources have been impressive. In calendar year 2015, for example, Arkansas’s tourism industry hosted 28.1 million guests who spent $7.3 billion in the state, to include $374 million in state taxes. Visitation to “The Natural State” has nearly doubled since the “tourism tax” went into effect and overall spending by travelers has more than tripled.

Unlike most state governments, Arkansas has chosen to place its state parks program and tourism promotion efforts under a single agency, in this case the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With a gubernatorially-appointed executive director at the helm and the State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission setting policy, it’s been a productive arrangement for well over half a century – despite chronic funding problems in the earlier years.

Project Summary:

Between the Tourism Division and the State Parks Division, the Department of Parks and Tourism will have approximately $14.4 million for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2017, to market Arkansas tourism and its state parks system.

The Department is seeking a fully integrated marketing communication vendor to work with the Department’s senior management team to:

  • Guide strategic development for Arkansas’s tourism industry;
  • Strengthen the state’s brand;
  • Leverage the state’s dollars through an ambitious partnership program;
  • Produce creative messages which resonate with the state’s target audiences;
  • Assemble an aggressive and comprehensive media plan;
  • Provide public relations and external communications;
  • Host the www.Arkansas.com and www.ArkansasStateParks.com along with other related websites and drive online traffic to the sites; and
  • Measure and evaluate the effectiveness of the overall efforts.

The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism is seeking an agency that will provide exceptional professional assistance and not view this account as simply one more in a long list of clients. The Department must have a partner which will build on the state’s 30+ years of equity in its “Arkansas: The Natural State” branding statement.

The Department is looking for a highly-motivated partner which will both understand and appreciate the Department’s legacy, history, and vision. The Department requires a partner which is intimately familiar with the Arkansas tourism industry, recognizes its potential, and is eager to devote its resources to advancing this vital and growing niche of the Arkansas economy. The Department expects its agency to fully comprehend the mission of the State Parks Division and provide the resources and expertise to continue its strong upward growth. The Department demands a partner with a tangible passion for Arkansas and a thorough grasp of the state’s unique opportunities and experiences. The Department insists on a partner which will contribute to a highly creative, energetic, and collaborative association.

Scope of Work:

  1. Marketing Strategy and Brand Planning:
    • Develop brand positioning strategy and marketing plans, including competitive and situational analyses, goals, objectives, priorities, audiences, and integrated multi-media strategies
    • Strategize, plan, and execute integrated and measurable marketing programs to build awareness, intent, and travel to Arkansas
  2. Research and evaluation:
    • Monitor, track, and provide points-of-view on social, economic, political, environmental, media, consumer, and travel industry data and trends that could impact the state’s tourism business
    • Identify opportunities to grow market share and/or revenue
    • Conduct research to shape, target, and measure marketing efforts
  3. Creative Services:
    • Conceptualize big, singular ideas that engage the audience with Arkansas’s and Arkansas State Parks’ brand
    • Strategize, create, produce, procure, and prepare advertising and branded content for distribution on domestic and international online and offline media channels, including paid, owned, and earned and social media platforms
    • Create, produce, publish, and distribute printed promotional materials including, but not limited to The Arkansas Travel Guide, Water & Woods, the Arkansas Motorcycling Guide, the Arkansas Mountain Biking Guide, the Arkansas Road Biking Guide and the Arkansas State Park Guide.
    • Research, produce and/or procure, and manage assets and content for tourism development and marketing purposes, including but not limited to artwork, illustrations, photography, video, music, maps, voiceover, copy, literature, brand identity, etc. Negotiate rates and use for rights-managed assets
  1. Public Relations:
    • Strategize, develop, execute, and support comprehensive domestic and international public/media relations campaigns and program activities, using both traditional and emerging social media approaches – including news releases, e-mail blasts, targeted media events, story pitches, and development of hosted press trips
    • Engage Arkansas’s tourism industry partners to assist in all phases of work with the media
    • Service inbound media requests/inquiries which may include but are not limited to content development, hosting, logistical arrangements, providing visuals and video
    • Track results of inbound servicing
    • Cultivate and maintain relationships with influential travel and lifestyle voices
    • Enhancement and maintenance of online media room, and blogs
    • Track and report on editorial coverage in both traditional and social media outlets to quantitatively and qualitatively assess earned media value of PR efforts and provide ongoing reports of the findings
    • Represent Arkansas at media events, shows, marketplaces, trips, and other outreach forums
    • Develop and manage an integrated contact and communications management system for the purpose of facilitating and tracking communications with media contacts
    • Communicate Arkansas’s tourism successes to the state’s partners, constituents, media outlets, legislators, and industry members
    • Develop and deliver workshops and seminars on a variety of media, public relations, and travel trade topics as needed and/or requested
    • Assist with crisis management strategy, plan, protocol, execution, monitoring and support, including social media channels
  1. Social Media:
    • Strategize, develop, and execute social media strategies including competitive and situational analyses, goals, objectives, priorities, and audiences
    • Develop a brand positioning which complements the overall consumer-marketing program
    • Account management, including account staff coordination, budget management, project timelines, status reports, quality control, and client communications
    • Compelling, creative execution across all current and future social media channels on an on-going basis
    • Identify and counsel as to how Arkansas can maximize emerging technology and trends in the social environment
  1. Web Agency:
    • Marketing Strategy and Brand Planning
      • Develop digital marketing plans, including competitive and situational analyses, goals, objectives, priorities, and audiences
      • Develop a brand positioning that complements the overall consumer-marketing program
    • Creative Services
      • Create, produce, and prepare digital branded content for distribution on domestic and international online media channels, including paid, owned, earned, and social media platforms
      • Research, produce and/or procure, and manage assets and content for tourism development and marketing purposes, including but not limited to artwork, illustration, photography, video, music, maps, voiceover, copy, literature, brand identity pieces, etc.
    • Website Development, Design, and Strategy
      • Lead, actualize, and execute website design, re-design, coding, development, automated personalized marketing, content apps, and integration of marketing campaigns and digital projects
      • Research marketplace, target audiences/users and develop strategies to reach them and fulfill their needs and expectations of a travel destination website
  2. Media Planning and Buying:
    • Annually develop and recommend media objectives, strategies, and tactics in support of overall marketing plan goals and objectives
    • Plan, negotiate, and purchase media placements and program integration on channels and publishers including but not limited to print, digital (including display, search engine marketing, mobile, video, social media), broadcast, out-of-home, event, sponsorship, point-of-purchase, cooperative marketing, direct marketing, and emerging technology vehicles
    • Evaluate and recommend search engine optimization strategies and activities in coordination with the digital marketing agency

Proposal due by January 6th, 2017 to:

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Office of State Procurement DFA Building

1509 West 7th Street, Suite 300

Little Rock, AR 72201

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