Sandy Springs, Georgia Issues Marketing RFP

Within the past year, the DMO has worked with a research firm to conduct a visitor profile, lodging and group travel analysis, City Springs has opened to the public and several new projects have been initiated by the City to extend the walkable downtown area that includes City Springs. Consequently, almost 12 years after its establishment, Sandy Springs Hospitality & Tourism’s board of directors and professional staff are seeking a consultant to assist with the creation of a Strategic Plan that will carry the organization into the next three to five years.

The goals for the Strategic Plan are as follows:

·         Identify key markets and distinctive brand attributes that will drive market share growth within the DMO’s competitive set.

·         Establish marketing goals strategies to increase the DMO’s return on investment in digital, social and print marketing and promotions.

·         Establish ambitious and measurable sales goals and objectives that will focus and improve the DMO’s approach to sales efforts.

·         Identify opportunities for tourism product development, destination enhancement, and partnerships.

·         Evaluate the internal structure of the organization to identify operational gaps and strategic opportunities.

·         Develop confirmed purpose statements (mission, vision and values) for Sandy Springs Hospitality & Tourism, Inc.


Bordered by Atlanta to the south and the Chattahoochee River to the north, Sandy Springs is a modern Southern city with its own unique identity as Georgia’s sixth largest city. Incorporated in 2005, Sandy Springs combines the best of urban and rural environments with a thriving culinary scene of 100+ unique and locally owned restaurants. The City also boasts more than 950 acres of parks and natural areas, including 3 units of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and 22 miles of Chattahoochee River shoreline. Artisans and independent store owners have made Sandy Springs their home, and Atlanta’s best shopping is just minutes away. Throughout the year, local events like festivals and holiday markets highlight and celebrate the up-and-coming community. Sandy Springs makes for a relaxing getaway with more than 2,800 hotel rooms, all with easy access to several major highways and interstates as well as 4 MARTA rail stations.

Sandy Springs Hospitality & Tourism, Inc./Visit Sandy Springs (VSS) was established in 2006 is the destination marketing organization (“DMO”) for the City of Sandy Springs. A charitable organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, the DMO receives certain tax revenue (hotel-motel tax) from temporary lodging facilities, including hotels and motels, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 48-13-51. Sandy Springs currently has 20 hotels and approximately 2800 rooms. The DMO operates exclusively for the purpose of promoting tourism, meetings, and trade shows within the City of Sandy Springs and to enhancing the economic base of the City by increasing visits from leisure and business travelers, generating overnight lodging. Through salient and strategic marketing efforts, the DMO encourages people to visit, stay, recreate and shop in Sandy Springs by:

·         Promoting Sandy Springs as an attractive destination and maintaining a leadership position in metro Atlanta’s hospitality and tourism industry, based on its superb hotels and amenities and its proximity to all of Metro Atlanta’s tourism assets and attractions.

·         Promoting Sandy Springs’ as central to area malls, river activities, parks, excellent dining, festivals and events.

·         Working with our community partners to create awareness and excitement among meeting planners, tour operators, travel agents and media about Sandy Springs.

The DMO advertises, promotes and attends trade shows to showcase the destination to new and repeat visitors. The DMO represents all hotels, attractions, and restaurants in Sandy Springs and shopping venues in and around the City. They create and distribute paid advertising, printed materials, public relations, digital and social media, and promotional items to national and regional travelers, news media, and tourism industry professionals including tour operators, travel agents, meeting planners, group tour operators and group leaders. They also partner with the Atlanta Metro Travel Association, the Hospitality Highway and the City’s neighbors in the northern Perimeter in advertising, trade show and expo opportunities. While the City does not have a “big box” conference and convention center, the City does have meeting space in the conference center area, terraces, lobbies and theaters at the new City Springs facility, as well as in its 4 full-service area hotels.

Sandy Springs’ newly-developed and recently-opened city center, City Springs, is a 14-acre mixed-use development featuring multiple offerings including a performing arts center, conference center, programmable green space, residential, retail, restaurant and city offices. Conceived as a vibrant place to play, City Springs offers residents and visitors alike the opportunity to enjoy world-class entertainment. The 1,100 seat Byers Theatre, the 350-seat Studio Theatre and the four-acre City Green host concerts by classical, popular and jazz musicians, dance, theater, comedy and family entertainment. In an effort to further develop its world-class arts and cultural offerings, the City has also partnered with Art Sandy Springs’ Arts in the Open Committee to bring public sculpture to the heart of the city.

Developed as a comprehensive Public-Private Partnership between the City of Sandy Springs and real estate developer Carter and Selig Enterprises, City Springs was designed to be the city’s “heartbeat”. The civic and cultural center at City Springs serves as a gathering space, creating a sense of place for the community, while also serving as a home to Sandy Springs’ new City Hall. The City Springs District spreads beyond the downtown development, with Allen Road as its border to the south and Sandy Springs Circle to the north. City Springs is also a short walk to numerous City parks, combining the best of urban amenities with the City’s natural beauty.

Scope of Work:

The consultant should detail the methods and practices to achieve the goals for the project in the proposal. However, the following must be included:

·         A minimum of 5 stakeholder interviews, not including members of the board or DMO staff.

·         At least 2 half-day workshops with all DMO staff and the SSH&T, Inc. board to confirm key stakeholders, draft strategic priorities and strategic objectives and identify initiatives.


The DMO expects the following deliverables at the end of the project:

·         A 3-5 year Strategic Plan with clearly defined goals, objectives, and measurements for success. The final plan should be less than 15-20 pages in its entirety.

·         A summary of key findings with a supporting chart for the staff to use and to present to the board.

Due Date:

February 6


Alison Brod PR and Hunter PR have relevant experience. 

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