LOS ALAMOS COUNTY ISSUES TRAVEL MARKETING RFP
The County is seeking to enter into an agreement with a qualified, experienced marketing and public relations agency in directing future tourism marketing and public relations efforts, including web and social media, in an aggressive and comprehensive manner, to strengthen awareness, statewide and nationally, of the County’s attributes and offerings as a vacation destination, with an ultimate goal to attract more visitors and overnight stays. It is the County’s intent to identify key visitor markets with a well-coordinated marketing and public relations plan that will leverage partner efforts and best maximize exposure across all the media platforms. It is imperative to determine the most effective use of designated public dollars while achieving these goals. All marketing efforts are expected to seek visitor awareness, interest or conversion, with mechanisms for measuring performance at all possible interfaces. The selected marketing firm will be required to demonstrate its ability to work in all communications channels—traditional media and digital, paid and non-paid, promotions and events—in addition to providing an effective long-term strategic platform and flawless marketplace execution, all at a competitive cost to the County of Los Alamos.
Situated at the base of the Jemez Mountains in beautiful northern New Mexico, Los Alamos is a town of about 18,000 residents which includes the community of White Rock. Having grown out of the Manhattan Project in the 1940s, the community is known worldwid e for its scientific and technological accomplishments. Los Alamos offers a fascinating legacy of world-changing science and technology, an international population, world-class cultural activities, uncommon high-altitude recreational opportunities and small town friendliness – all in a spectacular natural setting.
At 7,245 feet altitude, Los Alamos is “big pine” country, providing a wealth of high altitude recreational resources, including:
- Pajarito Mountain, located five (5) miles from downtown Los Alamos, accommodates downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing in the winter, mountain biking in the summer and fall, and hiking year-round;
- Los Alamos County Golf Course, an 18-hole, par 72;
- Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center, featuring a 50-meter, Olympic-size pool (used by Olympic athletes from around the globe), a therapy pool, and scheduled events and activities;
- Los Alamos County Ice Rink, the only refrigerated, NHL regulation, outdoor ice rink in New Mexico; and
- More than 150 miles of County network and U.S. Forest Service trails that traverse through and around Los Alamos.
Cultural activities abound with concerts, art fairs and exhibits, lectures, festivals, dance performances and theater events scheduled throughout the year. There are several tourist attractions in the County which include:
- Bradbury Science Museum
- Los Alamos Nature Center
- Los Alamos History Museum
- Fuller Lodge and Art Center
- Ashley Pond Park
- Historic Walking Tour
- Mesa Public Library Art Gallery
The downtown area of Los Alamos is designated as a MainStreet District, as well as one of the few Creative Districts in the nation by the State of New Mexico. Programs for each district provide for many of the unique events at businesses and attractions in Los Alamos’ town center. The Los Alamos MainStreet District and Program is designated and accredited by the New Mexico MainStreet (“NMMS”) program, under the New Mexico Economic Development Department. The Los Alamos Creative District is designated and accredited by New Mexico MainStreet, Department of Cultural Affairs divisions: New Mexico Arts and Historic Preservation, Tourism Department, and the McCune Charitable Foundation. The New Mexico Arts Commission is the state authorizer for new Arts & Cultural Districts while New Mexico MainStreet administers the program. Los Alamos MainStreet’s mission is to create a strong economic business climate while preserving cultural and historic resources. Two (2) MainStreet Economic Transformation Strategies that align with Los Alamos’ tourism strategies are: 1) Promote and encourage niche tourism by capitalizing on Los Alamos’ historic and scientific significance; and 2) Create a strong entrepreneurial support environment.
Both programs are funded, in part, by Los Alamos County’s Economic Development Division (“LACDC”) via a sole source contract with Los Alamos MainStreet, a program of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation. For MainStreet, LACDC conducts meetings with the MainStreet Futures group of local business interests, administers promotion grants for local events and organizations within the District and executes County-directed programs, projects and community events (e.g., Halloweekend, WinterFest), as well as the County’s signature event: ScienceFest. For the Creative District, LACDC curates, coordinates and executes events in the District that capitalize on the strong influence of science and history on Los Alamos’ arts and culture scene.
The Tourism Marketing campaign is executed in cooperation with the Visitor Operations and Management contract. The Visitor Contractor manages the staffing and operations for the County’s two (2) visitor centers in Los Alamos Townsite and White Rock, and includes: visitor assistance, distribution of visitor information, management of a visitor website and social media sites, as well as coordination with specific state and regional tourism advertising and marketing efforts. The Visitor Contractor also is responsible for collecting and reporting data from visitors at the centers, the website and the Facebook page. The current Visitor contract ends June 30, 2018. The County is issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for these services in the same timeframe as this RFP. Close collaboration and coordination between the contractors that provide visitor center operations and management and tourism marketing are critical to the County’s goals and objectives for developing and increasing tourism.
Scope of Work:
- Interim Marketing Plan and Initial Assessment.
- Interim Marketing Plan (due by September 4, 2018). This is a year one of the contract requirement only. Based on review of existing plans and materials, and interviews with County staff and partners, identify ongoing or pending tourism marketing projects/priorities and develop Interim Marketing Plan to complete them, including schedule, scope, staffing, budget and performance measures.
- Initial Market Assessment (due by October 1, 2018). Develop a statement assessing the current Tourism Marketing program and proposing the path forward for the future Tourism Marketing program. Offeror should base this statement on their agency’s experience and current national, state, and regional tourism industry trends as well as evaluation of Los Alamos County’s Tourism Marketing goals, plans and reports, including but not limited to: the Issues and Priorities section of this RFP (Section III.C.), Tourism Strategic Plan (February 2018); County Council’s Goals (https://losalamosnm.us/government/county_council/community_goals/); the County’s Economic Vitality Action Plan (due to be complete in May 2018); the Lodgers’ Tax Advisory Board work plan; current print and digital collateral pieces, web and social media content; and interviews with County staff and partners.
- Marketing Plan (Due by May 30th each year of the contract). Prepare an annual Marketing Plan that provides a market assessment (see item 1.b. above), summary of previous year’s Performance Report (see item 4 below), and outlines the goals, objectives, performance measures and specific tactics/programs for achieving and reporting them. The Plan may include targeted media for public relations outreach, media outreach, special event marketing, and social media marketing efforts within the total budget. Recommendations on how to best segment this budget (public relations, event marketing, etc.) to achieve maximum exposure will be immediately required. The Marketing Plan will provide a template for which all approved and potential projects will be assessed and will include a review/production schedule, budget impacts (direct costs, plus overhead and/or contractor fees), target audiences, consistent messages (slogans), media (advertising, web, story placement, event, social media, etc.), and ROI. The Marketing Plan will be updated annually.
- Performance Report. (Due by May 30th each year of the contract). Develop a tool based on industry best practices and acceptable to the County, for entering, monitoring and evaluating Tourism Marketing campaign performance that is in a format that is compatible with the County’s software systems for access, printing, editing and distribution by County Contract Manager.
101 Camino Entrada, Building 3,
Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544