The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), Maine Office of Tourism (MOT), is seeking the services of an independent, professionally qualified contractor to conduct a complete evaluation of the marketing grant programs offered through the Maine Office of Tourism. The vendor will be expected to produce an evaluation of past grant programs as outlined in the Scope of Services below, and provide recommendations for future MOT marketing grant programs.
In 2003, the Maine State Legislature passed legislation establishing a non-lapsing dedicated account for the Maine Office of Tourism (Title 5, MRSA 13090-K). Ten percent of the revenues received were set aside for regional marketing and promotion, and special event promotion. The Maine Office of Tourism (MOT) distributes funding to tourism regions, major events, and other targeted tourism-marketing efforts through the Maine Tourism Marketing Partnership Program (MTMPP). The primary objective of the MTMPP is the creation and implementation of programs designed to stimulate and expand the travel industry within Maine’s tourism regions while strengthening the State’s image by coordinating the promotional efforts of the private sector with those of the MOT. A secondary objective is to support the development of major events and other new tourism initiatives that will attract and increase visitation, and economic impact. Programs must be aligned with and support the Five-Year Plan developed by the MOT. (https://motpartners.com/additional-resources/plans-reports/ ).
The MOT seeks an independent contractor to review the MTMPP grant programs, processes and evaluate the effectiveness and ROI of past programs to further strengthen program design and operation.
Scope of Work:
Currently, the Maine Office of Tourism provides three Maine Tourism Marketing Partnership Program (MTMPP) Grants – Regional Marketing Grant, Special Event Marketing Grant, and Tourism Enterprise Grant.
Core evaluation questions include:
1. To what extent did the program leverage resources (financial resources through matching grants, cash and in-kind match, dues, and technical assistance through partner organizations)
2. How efficient/easy to navigate is the application process?
3. Do the guidelines accurately reflect the marketing goals of the Maine Office of Tourism (MOT)?
4. Are these grants helping organizations and regions to build capacity and maintain sustainable programming?
5. Are the grantees able to measure success, tourism spending and ROI as a result of MOT funding?
Specific evaluation activities will be conducted by the outside evaluator. These should include:
1. Interview key staff of partner organizations to validate program process, objectives, modifications over time, and lessons learned.
2. Review and analyze current program documentation, including existing work plans, progress
3. Review current grant scoring criteria
4. Review application process including software program.
5. Review grant budget requirements, including sources of cash and in-kind match requirements, and required documentation.
6. Conduct interviews with grantees that address grant effectiveness including ROI, process, reporting. These interviews may be complemented by surveys or focus groups with key staff, board members, and project partners.
7. Review program guidelines for each MTMPP Program; Regional, Enterprise, Special Event
8. Review each regional organizations’ operating models as it relates to the grant monies awarded.
9. Develop recommendations for improving the delivery, efficiency, and impact of the program.
10. Strategically convene key stakeholders (regional tourism representatives, tourism associations, industry leaders) to review and discuss evaluation findings and specific questions identified through the evaluation process.
The consultant will provide one final report and recommendations to the director of the Maine Office of Tourism before November 1, 2019. The report should address:
1. Overall assessment of program quality and impact
2. Overall assessment of program strengths and weaknesses
3. Examples of where program objectives have been met or exceeded
4. Examples of where program objectives have not been met
5. Analysis of the factors that have had the greatest influence on program outcomes
6. Recommendations for each MTMPP grant (Regional, Enterprise, Special Event) with program modifications or other activities that could be pursued to strengthen the program
All reports become the property of the Maine Office of Tourism
April 10th, 2019.
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