Town of Front Royal Purchasing Issues Marketing RFP

The Town of Front Royal, Virginia is issuing a Request for Proposal for a Destination Marketing Organization to serve both the Town of Front Royal (the Town) and the County of Warren (the County), Virginia, both in their capacities as political subdivisions of the Commonwealth of Virginia. All qualified firms / individuals are encouraged to submit a proposal. Seeing the immense tourism potential, the Town and the County have combined our tourism dollars, an estimated $400,000, and focus as we seek to become a premier tourism destination on the East Coast attracting both DC metro day-trippers, multi-day regional visitors and beyond. It is our belief that effective destination marketing is based on solid research, progressive visioning, and the development and execution of an actionable tourism strategy resulting in community pride and economic return. In order to accomplish this goal, we are requesting Proposals to garner professional services for tourism development, coordination, and destination management.

The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to solicit sealed proposals to establish a contract through competitive negotiation for the purchase of services from a qualified firm, firms, or individual with demonstrated competency to implement, initiate and administer comprehensive destination marketing and tourism that provide revenues to business entities and promote responsible economic growth for the Front Royal and Warren County community. The successful offeror will be the primary responsible party to lead and develop tourism for the community

Background:

The proposal process will consist of two phases: Phase I encompasses the issuance of the RFP, receiving proposals and the review process. Phase II of the process will be the selection of firms to participate in a more comprehensive review in which additional information may be requested and an oral interview conducted with selected firms / individuals. Each Phase will involve consideration by representatives of the Town, The County, and the related Front Royal / Warren County Joint Tourism Committee. At the conclusion of the evaluation process, a successful applicant may be chosen. The performance period for this Firm Fixed Price contract will begin 30 days after the award. This initial contract term shall be awarded by the Town of Front Royal for twelve (12) months and may have the option to renew if a contract modification is made for up to three (3) additional 12 month periods for a total of four (4) years. In subsequent years thereafter, a Joint Tourism Board will be formed to be the primary fiduciary and fiscal agent for the Town and County for tourism.

Scope of Work:

The firm, firms, or individual awarded the Destination Marketing Organization contract shall furnish all labor and materials to provide:

1) Tourism Leadership, Management and Coordination 

• Provide a single point of contact for tourism for Front Royal. Destination Marketing Organization promoting a compelling vision and brand.

• Provide focused and effective leadership / stewardship accomplishing responsible and sustainable economic growth.

• Conduct yearly planning sessions with County Officials, Town Officials, and the Tourism Committee (Board) to define/refine the tourism vision and brand.

• Employ and manage a staff and direct third-parties to provide high quality and targeted tourism services and deliverables.

• Manage allocated tourism funding in the most ethical, economical, and efficient way.

• Provide quarterly and yearly updates to Town and County governing bodies.

2) Research 

a. Conduct local research to uncover the community’s unique needs

b. Conduct primary and secondary research to apply unique and best practices in tourism that meet requirements.

c. Present research as a basis to guide sound tourism decision making and educate community leaders and stakeholders.

3) Local Engagement and Listening 

a. Engage the community to participate, provide feedback and help shape tourism objectives. The needs of all stakeholders should be considered with an eye on driving responsible economic growth while unleashing the potential of what the community has to offer visitors. This work should be done in an ongoing and seamless way.

4) Visioning 

a. Reconcile the visioning work of the past and lead the effort to refine our vision and brand. Help to communicate and embed this vision and brand in all tourism marketing and activities. RFP #27-2020 Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) 6 

b. Promote the vision within the community to drive a united front on who we are and what we have to offer.

5) Destination Marketing Strategy and Actionable Plan 

a. Create an actionable marketing strategy and yearly plan which will be approved by the Town, County and Tourism Committee (Board) and will guide tourism work quarter-to-quarter

b. The strategy will be multi-faceted and provide a framework for all activities.

c. The plan will be funded through associated task orders and progress will be determined by measuring accomplishment of the plan and the intended outcomes.

6) Content Creation 

a. Create marketing content that is original, timely, relevant, and utilized daily or multiple times per week.

b. Content will include various media methods (video, photographic, and written content) and will be compelling and visually appealing.

c. Content will be authentic and organic and will clearly convey the positive, real, and unique experiences of those that live and visit here.

7) Social Marketing Media 

a. Manage all tourist related Social Media assets (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, etc.) and respond in real-time to inquiries and comments during set business hours.

b. Social Marketing Media will be baselined and measured to ensure progress against goals.

8) Website Development and Management 

a. Manage the ongoing development of the “discoverfrontroyal.com”.

b. Responsible for all content, positioning, branding, etc. 

c. Ensure a high level of SEO and website visibility/placement.

d. Track website/google analytics and report on a monthly basis. 9) Graphic Design a. Produce graphic designs that are original, brand consistent, professional and visually pleasing. RFP #27-2020 Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) 7 10) Advertising a. Determine and execute effective advertising campaigns (social media, print, collaborative, etc.,) with measurable returns.

11) Tourism-Based Public Relations 

a. Act as the Public Relations Spokesperson for tourism on County / Town tourism matters interfacing with the press, travel writers, and other entities seeking to highlight or inquire about tourism. This includes the ability to develop, manage and communicate during unfavorable times such as (critical events or disasters).

b. Work to increase earned media which will be measured and reported on a monthly basis.

12) Visitor Services 

a. Mandatory: Provide visitor’s services five (5) days per week to include weekends which shall include concierge-type services and online resources. It is critical that these services be provided with the most effective means and methods and at the most appropriate staffing levels. Offeror’s are required to submit proposals that respond with a scope of work for visitor’s services, however these visitor’s services may or may not be in-person at the Front Royal/Warren County Visitor’s Center.

b. Non-Mandatory: The Front Royal/Warren County Visitor’s Center is located at 414 E Main Street, Front Royal, VA 22630. This physical location may have a separate budget and be a separate concept from the Visitor’s Services described in the above paragraph. Therefore, in the spirit that competition is sought to the maximum feasible degree, the Town encourages firms and individuals to submit proposals that may or may not have experience with providing visitor’s services at physical locations such as a Visitor’s Center. Further Details and clarifications: The Town owns the Visitor’s Center Property and shall lease the building to the Independent Contractor for $1.00 annually. Independent Contractor shall pay all utilities.

13) Group Meeting Planning and Coordination 

a. Provide information about services, businesses, attractions, and lodging.

b. Design multi-purpose or targeted itineraries for large groups. Real-time lodging availability and booking will continue to be done directly through the various lodging vendors. However, the DMO will refer and connect parties together.

14) Grant Writing and Proposal Submission 

a. Research and identify Grant Opportunities. However, Grant writing and grant management will be performed by the Town, County, or (future) Tourism Board.

15) Community and Business Liaison 

a. Maintain a high-level of knowledge of all tourism-related businesses. Promote and connect those businesses with the visiting population.

b. Maintain and promote current and comprehensive materials (portfolio view) of “all we have to offer”.

c. Engage businesses and help them be active and responsible members in the tourism strategy and process.

d. Engage the larger community in ambassadorship and volunteerism to promote Front Royal and Warren County and make community pride visible.

Due Date:

Sept 12

Address:

Town of Front Royal Purchasing FINANCE DEPARTMENT P.O. BOX 1560 102 E Main Street Front Royal, Virginia 22630 (5404) 636-6889

Relevant agencies to consider include Hunter PR and RF Binder.