The HTA is a State agency established under 201B Hawai‘i Revised Statutes to manage tourism for the State. The HTA is administratively attached to the Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). The HTA’s powers and responsibilities include coordinating with global marketing contractors, visitor industry partners, travel trade, MCI partners, and community stakeholders to ensure that brand marketing and communications tactics are in line with Hawai‘i’s unique and distinctive products, including natural resources, Hawaiian culture, and Hawai‘i’s multi-ethnic culture.

In addition, the HTA creates, manages and supports the development of unique tourism experiences such as community and cultural festivals, sporting events, natural resources, and community and cultural programs. The HTA also directly affects the visitor experience through its support of workforce development, visitor assistance programs, the integration of community and residents’ considerations, and a deep respect for the Hawaiian host culture. In 2021, HTA embarked on a statewide, island by island, community outreach process guided by a diverse stakeholder steering committee to create individual Destination Management Action Plans to recover and rebuild tourism for our islands’ communities and to address community concerns. All these elements should be considered as RFP responses are developed. 


The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, an agency of the State of Hawai‘i, hereinafter referred to as the “Authority” or “HTA,” is issuing this request for proposals (RFP) to seek companies capable of providing a full range of comprehensive brand marketing and brand management services for the Hawaiian Islands in the United States market. At the start of 2020, HTA introduced a six-year strategic plan to guide the vision and the responsibilities in support of Hawai‘i tourism through 2025. HTA has been reorganized around four interacting “Pillars” (Natural Resources, Hawaiian Culture, Community and Brand Marketing) supported by research and other administrative functions. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recognizes that the development and management of tourism destinations requires a holistic approach to policy and governance. “Destination management consists of the coordinated management of all the elements that make up a tourism destination. Destination management takes a strategic approach to link-up these sometimes very separate elements for the better management of the destination.” This approach helps to avoid overlapping functions and duplication of efforts while creating better integrity through the different spheres of the management function. “Though DMOs (destination management organizations) have typically undertaken marketing activities, their remit is becoming far broader, to become a strategic leader in destination development.” The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crises inspired, in the Hawai‘i community, a reimagining of tourism and a resetting of priorities. The tourism industry’s recovery efforts will require coordination in the major market area as well as in the destination, and a synergy between the community goals and the marketing message. The HTA is seeking a destination management contractor who, in addition to providing brand marketing in the major market area, can also provide communication, facilitation, 2 collaboration, and promotion in Hawai‘i for initiatives produced by the community through the Destination Management Action Plans (DMAPs) which were published in 2021. The DMAP action items for Kaua‘i, Maui Nui, Hawai‘i Island, and O‘ahu can be found in the attachment, and links to the actual plans are provided in the website references in this section. These DMAPs were executed as part of the HTA’s Community-Based Tourism Program, and the concerns of the community are a major part of the work to be done. The HTA is seeking a contractor who is up to this challenge.

Scope of Work:

There is a great deal of overlap between destination marketing and management.

Therefore, the objectives are presented as one list. The offeror should be mindful not to

keep the marketing and management roles in siloes.

The key brand marketing and management objectives for this RFP are as follows:

• Primary focus on brand marketing in the United States.

• Assist HTA in execution of DMAP and regenerative tourism initiatives.

• Drive destination brand awareness. Build the brand of the Hawaiian Islands as well

as the specific islands of O‘ahu, Maui, Hawai‘i Island, Kaua‘i, Lāna‘i, and Moloka‘i.

• Take advantage of local market insights and intelligence on trends, distribution

dynamics, consumer insights, and competitive analysis. Target both current and

next generation of mindful travelers.

• Focus brand marketing to target mindful travelers with emphasis on higher trip

expenditures and increasing per person per day expenditures.

• Collaborate with the visitor industry to leverage resources and optimize results.

• Maintain the cultural integrity of the Hawaiian language, customs and practices,

music, dance, cultural and historic sites, and imagery in all marketing initiatives.

• Increase awareness, familiarization, and understanding of the diversity of Hawai‘i’s

people, place, and culture .

• Implement a responsible tourism branding communications program to educate

visitors both pre- and post-arrival with specific information about safe and

respectful/mindful travel.

• Develop airline relationships with the goal of monitoring and improving load factors

and to support direct routes as directed.

• Grow high-value market share against competing destinations.

• Focus marketing and enhance tour product development to build a desire to visit

during shoulder periods.

• Maintain a balance between travel trade and consumer promotions, backed by

research regarding consumer destination travel shopping and buying trends.

• Assist HTA’s Global MCI contractor in securing MCI group business with special

focus on the state-owned Hawai‘i Convention Center (HCC) and citywide convention


• Support local businesses and promote Hawai‘i made products.

• Assist HTA and other designated entities in crisis management and communication

related to the visitors and/or visitor industry.

• Ensure that initiatives are metrics driven.

Due Date:  4:30 PM (HST) on November 12, 2021


Proposals will be received, and receipt verified by two or more procurement officials on or after the submission deadline. Offerors should receive a confirmation email from HTA the day after the submission deadline. Offerors who do not receive confirmation should email contracting@gohta.net so that the procurement office can double check the emails.

Agencies to consider include Hunter PR and 5WPR.

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