Tourism RFP Issued By Montgomery County

The intent and purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to establish a contract through competitive negotiation for an integrated marketing campaign for the Montgomery County Regional Tourism Program. Desired active run period for this campaign is September 2020-June 2021. This campaign plan will be built and delivered in a cohesive manner so that visitors of Montgomery County find consistent and relevant content with all media working in an integrated manner (i.e. social media, blog, website, etc.).

Background:

The Montgomery County, Blacksburg, Christiansburg Virginia Regional Tourism office is seeking an agency to create, develop, and implement an integrated marketing campaign to run from September 2020-June 2021. Montgomery County is one of four counties and one city that makeup Virginia’s New River Valley. It lies between the Alleghany and Blue Ridge Mountains in southwest Virginia. The Weldon Cooper Center estimated the population of Montgomery County in 2018 at 99,433 which includes two incorporated towns, Blacksburg and Christiansburg. Perhaps best known for Virginia Tech, Montgomery County has a mix of beautiful rural landscapes, outdoor recreation and leisure activities, arts and culture attractions, and a small town feel with big town amenities. The proximity of Interstate 81 and Highway 460 increases the desirability of this mid-Atlantic mountain destination because of accessibility, for most of the nation’s population, within a day’s drive. The Montgomery County Regional Tourism Office was created in 2011 and serves the county along with the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg. An Executive Director was hired in 2012 and the first strategic tourism plan was approved in May 2013. Work is currently underway for the delivery of an updated strategic tourism plan for FY 21-23. The program continues to build upon the “Go to town!” brand which was launched in 2015. The marketing plan includes traditional marketing elements such as: print, radio, broadcast, earned media, direct marketing through trade and consumer shows and sales missions. In the past several years, more focus has been placed on digital and online media including a website, social media channels, and digital advertising. This will be the first truly integrated marketing campaign in the history of the program. The program has collected three years (2016-2018) of consumer data (demographic and behavioral) from an annual visitor profile study conducted each year. Other accessible research is related to the economic impact of visitation to the area as commissioned by the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and the impact of Virginia Tech Football as conducted by the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development. The office began this work with an agency who succumbed to the fiscal impacts of COVID-19 and will no longer be in business. They completed concept and design for the website, competitive analysis and a Public Relations toolkit. These will be used to build upon for completion of the integrated marketing campaign.

Scope of Work:

STATEMENT OF NEED: 

The County needs the services of a Contractor that can provide the following: 

1. Concept and design an integrated marketing campaign that will run for one year (four seasons) to promote the tourism destination to the optimum target audience(s) using traditional and modern marketing elements. This campaign must be detailed in a written plan and shall consider all places where a consumer would interact with the brand including visitor guides, website, social media, in-market visits and execute a cohesive program unifying all elements. Specific messages, materials, resources, and actions must be organized for maximum positive impact. The successful Proposer will create a unified plan and develop an annual flowchart of activity by month for each target market and shall report on number of impressions generated for each market. 

2. Design and create promotional tools used to distribute the message of the integrated campaign. These tools include: 

a. A newly created website with integration capabilities for a blog, social media channels, CRM, events calendar, business directory, virtual visitor center (brochures) and industry log-in, concept, design, wire frames for desktop and mobile are complete and ready to begin building the site. ‐ Created on a platform that is easily updated and managed with a user-friendly content management system without compromising the look and feel of the site. ‐ Include ability to capture user data ‐ Incorporate Search Engine Optimization and the most up-to-date standards for security, accessibility and cookies compliance. ‐ Setting up Analytics for website, social media and any digital communications for reporting. ‐ Delivery of monthly and quarterly reports for the purposes of determining the performance of the campaign, determine any needed adjustments, comparison of one period over another; by month and season. ‐ Deliver a plan for maintenance and hosting of site for one-year and include transition for use thereafter. ‐ Perform all related tasks as necessary to implement Provide Price Estimate of Website Fees 

1. First Year Fees including building, hosting, technical support, training, and CMS 

2. Ongoing Fees (After Year 1) 

a. Website Hosting. 

b. Maintenance and Support in including required version upgrades to address security and functionality. 

b. Deliver a media plan and supporting articles for campaign use in targeted media and tourism-owned spaces such as blog, social media. Production responsibilities include but are not limited to: 

• Trafficking of digital files/materials to media outlets 

• Providing dubs of broadcast materials 

• Providing digital files/disks of finished material to the Tourism Department including PDF files, JPGs, Raw files, etc., created in programs designated by County Tourism Department, Preparing advertising materials for presentation purposes (mounting, scanning, etc.). 

c. E-Mail marketing messages. Evaluate and recommend the best electronic communications product for this use. The office conducts frequent surveys which should be considered in the evaluation. 

d. Create a portfolio of professional photography for use in current and future marketing initiatives 

e. Design print and digital advertisements associated with the campaign. 

f. Design, monitor, analyze, and report results of all aspects of the marketing initiative 

g. Recommend Revenue generating and/or Revenue-Sharing ideas to incorporate into any of these deliverables 

h. Work closely with staff to obtain approval of campaign concept and creation of tools and content to support the campaign. 

The successful Proposer shall also have the ability and experience to develop creative campaigns for implementation on a national and in-state scale. The successful Proposer must have expertise in developing creative targeted to consumers and travel trade professionals such as travel agents/tour operators. The successful Proposer shall ensure and monitor accurate and comprehensive tracking of consumers’ online behavior and activities through all Tourism Department online channels as well as provide monthly reports on all key measures. The key measures should be established in coordination with Tourism Department staff. The successful Proposer shall ensure continuity and integrity of web analytics, including the availability of tracking data for all periods going forward. The successful Proposer shall be the principal advisor and provide interpretation of web analytics and strategic and tactical recommendations. The successful Proposer shall comply with the Tourism Office and County’s technical and security standards including creating digital tools that are ADA compliant. 

Due Date:

July 24

Address:

Montgomery County Purchasing Department 755 Roanoke Street, Suite 2C Christiansburg, VA 24073-3179

Agencies strong in travel PR include 5WPR and Coyne PR