The Town of Bluffton, South Carolina (Town) is seeking proposals from interested and qualified firms with past, proven, positive experiences in providing world class, innovative tourism and destination marketing under a multi-year contract.
The Town is a recipient of an allocation of accommodations tax revenues (ATAX) as defined in South Carolina Code (S.C.C.) Section 6-4. In accordance with S.C.C. 6-4-10(3), thirty percent (of the balance of ATAX revenues after other mandatory allocations) must be allocated to a special fund and used only for advertising and promotion of tourism to develop and increase tourist attendance through the generation of publicity. The Town may select one or more organizations which is organized as a non-profit organization and can demonstrate that it has an existing, on-going tourist promotion program or which can develop an effective tourism promotion program. Selected entities shall be required to submit a budget of planned expenditures and provide an accounting of thereof.
In their proposals, Vendors should identify key demographics for visitors to Bluffton and provide a marketing plan and approach for each demographic. Offer specific tactics across various marketing channels including media partnerships and uses of social media. The proposal response will also include a line item budget to support the marketing plan and approach discussed in the proposal response. The budget provided in the winning proposal(s) shall serve as the proposed budget in the contract for the first year of services. Annually, the Designated Marketing Organization(s) shall submit a proposed budget no later than April 1 for approval by the Town.
The selected Vendor(s) will collaborate with the Town on brand guidelines, overall messaging, and current events.
The selected Vendor(s) will be required to develop and maintain a website that is unique to Bluffton which will remain the Town of Bluffton’s work product under an open Content Management System (CMS) platform. If more than one vendor is selected, the Town will contract with just one vendor to take responsibility of the website. Design and functionality should be responsive in a variety of environments including desktop, tablet, and mobile. Vendor will work with the Town to measure website traffic and develop a comprehensive Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plan. Coordinate with the Town on new interactive or dynamic features to provide an interesting user experience.
The selected Vendor(s) and the Town will negotiate Key Performance Indicators to be incorporated into the contract as measures of success. Evaluation factors may include increased traffic to the website or other SEO measures, increased number of web or mail inquiries about tourism in the Town, occupancy rates, local taxes generated by visitors, number of jobs created by tourism, and others.
The selected Vendor(s) will report to the Town on a quarterly basis, at a minimum, on progress against annual objectives and a schedule of revenues and expenses. Quarterly reports shall be made in the format and with the backup documentation as specified by the Town.