Cruise the Great Lakes Issues Marketing RFP
The mission of Cruise the Great Lakes is to promote cruising in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River through an optimized and unique brand targeted towards current and potential passengers. Its near-term focus is on marketing to potential consumers in North America. Distribution channels could include direct to consumer, tour operators, and retail travel trade. A secondary, but parallel, audience for marketing will be cruise operators.
Cruise the Great Lakes is the region’s cruise marketing partnership. It is a collaboration of the region’s States, Provinces and partners working together to grow regional cruising. The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers (GSGP) serves as secretariat. The mission of Cruise the Great Lakes is to promote cruising in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River through an optimized and unique brand targeted towards current and potential passengers. Its near-term focus is on marketing to potential consumers in North America. Distribution channels could include direct to consumer, tour operators, and retail travel trade. A secondary, but parallel, audience for marketing will be cruise operators.
Cruising on the Great Lakes is poised for major growth in the coming years, with significant economic benefits for the entire region. In 2018, eight ships plan to operate in the region, representing nearly one million port visits by passengers. Two additional ships plan to enter the region by 2020.
Regional cruising has been growing rapidly despite the lack of a consistent regional brand or marketing program specifically directed at cruise passengers. Cruise the Great Lakes fills this gap and positions the region for sustained cruising growth for years to come.
Scope of Work:
The marketing program will initially be focused on potential cruise passengers in North America. The Cruise the Great Lakes Board of Directors has identified a number of potential components that could be incorporated into the marketing program. Responding consultants should consider these components and recommend a specific strategy and corresponding scope of work, using these approaches and/or others, along with a detailed budget describing planned expenditures for each component. Any subcontracting for tasks must be specified in the consultant’s response and will be evaluated as part of the proposed program. The consultant will be responsible for all performance and work, regardless of whether sub-contractors are used.
o Seeing what the region has to offer through the various cruise lines can best be achieved by experiencing it personally.
o To that end, Cruise the Great Lakes could organize familiarization tours of the region including media representatives. Familiarization tours could be linked to digital marketing efforts and advertorial content.
Participation in events:
o Cruise the Great Lakes could participate in trade shows, conventions, etc. with partner members to directly connect with the travel trade who can help potential consumers discover the region.
o At these events, printed information could be shared with attendees.
o The consultant could assist and support partners’ sales efforts to structure and build promotional material specifically for the region.
o The consultant will serve as the primary contact for Cruise the Great Lakes with the press and public.
o The consultant could oversee the development of a centralized website to explain basic components about the growing cruising industry in the Great Lakes, and all that the region has to offer. The website could provide an opportunity to share content about the region and create visibility for cruise operators, port authorities, convention & visitor bureaus and attractions.
o The website could embody the brand developed by the Cruise the Great Lakes partnership. It could target current and potential cruise passengers, with a secondary audience being the cruise industry.
o The website could also include information about the different ports and attractions that can be visited during regional cruises. Each State and Province could highlight tourism activities available when the cruise ships dock in their area.
o Pictures and videos could be featured on the website, highlighting the interesting activities surrounding the ports of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence. Each partnership member could be invited to provide content in order to utilize existing promotional material and save on production costs.
o The website could include an interactive map, highlighting the ports interested in welcoming cruise passengers, where consumers can easily learn about the ports, cities and attractions. This map could also present the cruise line itineraries.
o Paid search: The consultant could administer the purchase of paid searches to have the Cruise the Great Lakes website present in the first results shown on search engine result pages. This could be a useful tactic to gain visibility through the first year of existence.
o Sponsored content: The consultant could reach out to mainstream media providers that are used by the target audience to write advertorial editorial content about the cruise itineraries and regional cruising experience to help gain visibility for the website.
o The consultant could use web, print and TV media like National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian Journeys, Cruising World, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, Times, etc. to advance awareness of Cruise the Great Lakes.
o Map: Considering the primarily North American target audience, which is financially stable and on average over 45 years old, the consultant could manage the development of printed material to reach it. This map could geographically locate the Great Lakes within North America and include the St. Lawrence River, and locate each active port offering activities for the cruise passengers.
o The map could offer business description and logo recognition for the Cruise the Great Lakes partners. It could also present partner cruise lines offering regional itineraries. Additional single sheet material could be shared with the map about each partner port and cruise line.
o The map could be available for order through the Cruise the Great Lakes website to help gather information about potential clients that could be shared with partners.
o The map could be shared with partners to distribute at events, sales missions, tourism bureau activities, etc.
20 NORTH WACKER DRIVE
CHICAGO, IL 60606 USA