Arizona Issues RFP For Canada Media Relations
The State of Arizona invites sealed proposals from qualified firms for travel industry marketing and media relations representation in Canada for use by the Arizona Office of Tourism (“AOT”).
The objective of this solicitation is to cost-effectively increase Canadian visitation and spending in Arizona by increasing travel trade, media and consumer awareness about the state’s unique offerings through 1) assisting tour operators and travel agents to develop and promote group and individual tour programs to Arizona and 2) assisting media in publishing stories about Arizona as a world class destination.
AOT was established as an agency of the State of Arizona in 1975. AOT functions as a destination marketing organization to promote all of Arizona as a single travel destination. The mission of AOT is to strengthen and expand Arizona’s economy through travel and tourism promotion.
In terms of international visitation to the U.S., Canada was the 2nd largest market with 900,000 Canadians visiting the U.S. in 2016 (source: U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration). According to international visitor volumes for Arizona as reported by Tourism Economics, Canada continues to be a strong inbound market for Arizona ranking number two for inbound travel for five years in a row (2012-2016). AOT has had trade and media relations representation in Canada since the mid-1990s.
Scope of Work:
Specific Media Relations Requirements:
Media Leads: The Contractor shall conduct proactive media outreach to print, broadcast and online media in the Canadian market. From this outreach, a minimum of 24 new media leads shall be generated each year and added to the database. These leads must be qualified media that have the potential to cover Arizona. A summary of new media leads shall be provided in each monthly report.
Fulfillment: The Contractor shall provide information on Arizona in response to requests from the media and consumers. AOT will provide collateral for inquiries and requests contingent on availability. AOT will reimburse the shipping costs for the collateral listed below on a monthly basis with the appropriate back-up documentation.
- Arizona Official Visitors Guide
- Arizona Official State Map
- Access to images in the Arizona Office of Tourism online photo library
- Film footage with scenes from around the state in HDProRes format
- Destination video
Fulfillment inquiries including contact information, type of inquiry (consumer, tour operator, media representative, etc.) and items requested shall be included as a component of the monthly report.
Individual Media Visits and Group Press Trips: AOT conducts group press trips each fiscal year whose participants include one journalist from each key market. AOT also hosts journalists on individual media visits. The Contractor must qualify and organize a minimum of ten journalists annually for individual and group media tours to Arizona. Qualified journalists are those who are on an assignment to produce an article that will be published within 18 months of the trip in a publication whose target market, reader demographics and circulation meet the requirements of AOT. Only print and online writers are allowed on group media tours. Film crews and radio broadcasters can be accommodated on individual media tours. AOT shall approve all qualified journalists submitted by the Contractor.
- The Account Manager shall make all arrangements within Canada including, but not limited to; identifying and confirming qualified attendees, arranging international flights from Canada to Arizona and all pre-trip preparations. Any costs incurred must be pre-approved by AOT. AOT and hosting communities will coordinate all arrangements in Arizona including itinerary development and ground transportation.
- The Account Manager shall actively work with airlines to generate free or discounted air tickets for press trips when possible.
- The Account Manager shall follow up with all press trip participants to confirm generated coverage has appeared. All generated coverage shall be included in the monthly report.
- The Account Manager shall follow up with all participants and report back overall opinions of the Arizona trip through an online survey tool provided by AOT.
- All costs associated with the tours must be pre-approved by AOT and will be reimbursed to the Contractor. Any cost that is not pre-approved may not be reimbursed by AOT.
Clipping Service: The Contractor shall conduct an on-going clipping service of articles related to Arizona in print publications, online publications, social media platforms, professional travel blogs, radio and television broadcasts. The clippings (or copies) shall be supplied to AOT each month along with advertising equivalency and circulation, viewership and/or audience. Metrics for tracking social media posts will be agreed upon individually based on channels used. Advertising equivalency in USD shall be based solely on advertising rates without the use of multipliers.
Annual Editorial Calendar: The Contractor shall provide an annual (12 month) editorial calendar, 30 days prior to the start of AOT’s fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) with topics to be covered each month for newsletters, press releases and social media that are relevant and strategic to reach AOT’s Canada market goals.
Social Media: The Contractor shall leverage AOT’s existing English speaking social media channels to promote Arizona in market. The Contractor shall include the following in the monthly report as it pertains to visiting journalists or influencers:
- Reach (organic, paid and viral),
- Post interactions, (number of Likes, Comments and Shares),
- Click through and conversion rates,
- Key influencers and brand ambassadors interacting with AOT’s social channels
Media Relations (As-Needed Services):
The Contractor shall provide the following services if required and authorized by AOT based on each fiscal year’s priorities and budgets.
Escorted Press Trips:
The Account Manager shall organize and escort group press trips toArizona, with a minimum of six and a maximum of eight qualified and AOT pre-approvedwriters and/or influencers plus the account manager and driver. Qualified writers arethose who are on an assignment to produce an article that will be published within 18months of the trip in a publication whose target market, reader demographics and circulation meet the requirements of AOT.
(a) The Account Manager shall make all arrangements within Canada including, but not limited to identifying and confirming qualified attendees, arranginginternational flights from Canada to Arizona and all pre-trip preparations. AOTand hosting communities will coordinate all arrangements in Arizona includingdeveloping the itinerary and arranging ground transportation. All travel costsmust be pre-approved by AOT prior to booking.
(b) The Account Manager shall actively work with airlines to generate free or discounted air tickets for press trips when possible.
(c) The Account Manager shall follow up with all participants and report backoverall opinions of the Arizona trip through an AOT pre-approved online surveytool.
(d) All costs associated with the tours must be pre-approved by AOT and will bereimbursed to the Contractor.
The Account Manager shall assist with and attend key tradeshows onbehalf of the Arizona Office of Tourism.
(a) The Account Manager shall assist AOT with on-site logistical supportincluding booth set-up and collateral shipping, delivery, display and distribution. AOT will directly handle all arrangements and payments associated with show registration and booth construction.
(b) The Account Manager shall set up an aggressive schedule of appointments with media representatives who have the potential to cover Arizona. Theappointment schedule must be forwarded to AOT for approval, no less than 10 business days prior to the commencement of the tradeshow and should include contact name and e-mail address, company bio, website address (ifappropriate), specific areas of interest and summary of previous conversations.
(c) The Account Manager shall execute follow-up with each appointment and provide AOT with a detailed report to include items such as overview of event, contacts and recommendations, follow up and fulfillment. This report shall beprovided within 5 business days following the event.
The Account Manager shall coordinate, conduct and accompany acomprehensive multi-day mission for a delegation of Arizona partners. A mission is defined as a series of appointments, an event, and/or series of events that provides opportunities for the delegation of Arizona partners to meet with and educate media representatives.
(a) The Account Manager and AOT shall work together to develop a missionstrategy, including format, schedule and attendee targets, based on marketgoals and Arizona delegation partners in attendance. The Account Manager shallconduct sufficient outreach to ensure the target quantity of qualified media professionals attend appointments and/or events.
(b) The Account Manager shall coordinate all aspects of the mission including, but not limited to, scheduling appointments, selecting a venue(s), coordinatingall food and beverage details, distributing invitations, handling RSVPs, organizing and stuffing gift/collateral bags and all other event related tasks. All pre- approved costs associated with the mission will be reimbursed by AOT.
(c) The Account Manager shall coordinate travel arrangements for the Arizona delegation including hotel and transportation reservations (not including overseas flights). Payment for these arrangements will be handled by eachdelegate directly. All travel expenses must fall within the State of Arizonainternational per diems, which can be found at https://gao.az.gov/travel/welcome-gao-travel.
(d) The mission schedule including appointments must be forwarded to AOT forapproval, no less than 10 business days prior to the commencement of themedia mission and should include contact name and e-mail address; companybio, and website address (if appropriate); specific areas of interest and summary of previous conversations.
(e) The Account Manager shall provide AOT a detailed report, to include items such as overview of event, contacts, photos of journalists/writers that the delegation met with during the mission, recommendations, follow up and fulfillment. This report shall be provided within 5 business days following the event.
The Contractor shall coordinate and accompany a comprehensive multi-daymission for a delegation of Arizona officials including but not limited to the Governor of Arizona,other political leaders, State of Arizona Agency Directors and/or community leaders. A mission is defined as a series of appointments, an event, and/or series of events that provides opportunities for the delegation of Arizona officials to meet with local leaders.
(a) The Contractor, AOT and other partners shall work together to develop format andschedule, based on mission goals and Arizona delegation officials in attendance.
(b) The Contractor shall coordinate all logistical arrangements for the Arizona delegation including but not limited to international and in-country flights, ground transportation,hotels, meals, cultural exchange and interpreters. Payment for these arrangements will be handled by each delegate directly. All travel expenses must fall within the State of Arizona international per diems, which can be found athttps://gao.az.gov/travel/welcome-gao-travel.
(c) The Contractor shall provide security contacts for each of the logistical arrangements to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
(d) The Contractor shall coordinate any required event venues including selecting avenue(s), coordinating all food and beverage details, distributing invitations, handlingRSVPs, organizing and stuffing gift/collateral bags, any necessary on-site coordination and all other event related tasks. All pre-approved costs associated with the mission will be reimbursed by AOT.
(e) The Contractor shall coordinate appointments for the Arizona delegation with keymedia, travel industry and economic development contacts. The schedule for the Protocol Mission including all events, appointments and logistical arrangements shall beprovided to AOT for approval, no less than 10 business days prior to the commencement of the mission.
(f) The Account Manager shall provide AOT a detailed report, to include items such asoverview of event, contacts and recommendations.
Strategic Brand Partnerships:
Contractor shall identify integrated travel industry and publicrelations promotional opportunities to support the development and placement of the Arizona brand.
(a) These strategic brand partnerships could be any activity that promotes to a specifictype of consumer (golfer, birdwatcher, spa-lover) in a non-traditional tactic. In the past, the AOT has partnered with the Marilyn Denis show on CTV to promote Arizona as apremier travel destination. A report of the results of any program shall be produced at the end of each project within fifteen business days after completion. Ongoing results will be reported in monthly reports. A minimum of two proposals shall be presented tothe AOT annually.
The Account Manager shall write and distribute news and feature releases every other month (6 per year) throughout Canada and upload into the AOT TravMedia account. Release topics are to be strategic, relevant and approved by AOT prior to distribution. A copy ofthe release shall be sent with the monthly report in which it was distributed.
The Contractor shall create, using original content, an electronic newsletter (e-newsletter) and distribute it to key media contacts every other month (6 per year). The e-newsletter shall, at a minimum, cover 4-6 topics per newsletter and include photos,quotes and opportunities to click through to other Arizona destinations and suppliers.
TheContractor shall provide a review of distribution of the e-newsletter as a component of the monthly report.
The review shall include the following:
(a) Total number sent
(b) Number of opens
(c) Number of bounce-backs
(d) Number of opt outs
(e) Number of click-throughs to each link.
MAY 16, 2018
Arizona Department of Administration
State Procurement Office
100 N 15th Ave., Suite 402
Phoenix, AZ 85007