Utah Office of Tourism Issues Public Relations RFP
The purpose of this request for proposal is to enter into a contract with a qualified public relations agency to provide full-service media relations in order to maximize Utah’s presence as a top-tier travel destination in the domestic market. The winning proposal will be responsible for creating and implementing Utah’s PR strategy, directly resulting in earned coverage in selected top-tier publications. This includes traditional media outlets; print, radio, television and web, as well as podcasts, blogs/influencers, email, etc. The annual PR retainer budget for fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) is $168,000.
The Utah Office of Tourism (UOT), an agency of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), is the state level destination marketing organization for Utah. The mission of the organization is to brand and promote to potential out-of-state visitors Utah’s experiences in an inspiring way to support and enhance economic vitality and quality of life in our state. The official Visit Utah brand speaks to the experiences we hope to inspire, “Utah Life Elevated®.” Launched in 2006, the Life Elevated® brand captures the essence and diversity of Utah’s tourism assets; its unrivaled parks and outdoor spaces, world-class recreation, art, history, culture, shopping and dining, as well as “The Greatest Snow on Earth®,” and the experiences and memories they foster.
UOT PR Vision Statement: We are a PR Powerhouse built on a foundation of collaboration, trust, intelligence and creativity. We are champions of Utah’s tourism economy and lead in telling Utah’s story in a way that builds and expands Utah’s brand. We make Utah a better place for both residents and tourists. We are a respected partner and caring advocate of our tourism destinations. We are nimble, adaptive and future-focused. We are a step ahead. We go broader and deeper than ads. Each story speaks directly to its audience, and we have an unlimited amount of them. Our stories are more than persuasive, they are inspirational. Journalists are our voice, and our contacts and relationships are the key to our success.
Scope of Work:
The Utah Office of Tourism’s Domestic PR mission is to increase year-round, national media exposure for Utah’s tourism product and enhance the state’s image as a top-tier travel destination. This will be a statewide effort to market Utah’s unique travel stories, pitch ‘Life Elevating’ experiences and enhance UOT’s brand identity to domestic media, directly resulting in positive story placement. Primary media efforts are on a national level with secondary efforts on targeted local markets identified by the Utah Office of Tourism. The Utah Office of Tourism has allocated an annual retainer budget of $168,000 in FY19 for domestic PR efforts. Expenses related to hosting FAM tours, events, in-market media tours, and other projects will be handled separately in the final sum and discussed after the award of the contract.
The agency will be charged with representing all areas of Utah, both rural and urban, with 35% of storytelling/pitching focused on our winter product, and 65% focused on spring/summer/fall. We’re looking for media results featuring luxury as well as off-the-beaten-path destinations, with an emphasis on outdoor recreation. The agency will be also be asked to focus on the UOT’s annual target affinity groups, which this year are culinary assets, dark sky parks, state parks and fly fishing.
High Level Goal:
- Leverage Utah’s tourism opportunities to increase media coverage in the domestic market, directly relating to increasing visitation to the state. This will be accomplished by collaborating with UOT to develop annual strategies with the end goal of pitching unique stories and experiences and hosting FAM tours, resulting in positive media coverage for the state. This includes:
- In-depth Pitching: UOT will work with agency to identify target publications, draft timeline and coordinate pitch details.
- Annual media events bringing UOT, media and county DMO partners together to share the Utah message.
- Agency will be required to recruit journalists for at least 6 group familiarization tours (4-6 journalists in each group) and at least 18 individual familiarization tours throughout the year. The goal for these trips is to bring in four journalists per trip to experience Utah’s robust tourism product. The agency will pitch media attendance, coordinate media information and book flights. UOT will help identify target publications/media, organize itineraries and host trips.
- In-market media tours. UOT will visit four key market areas, including one annual visit to New York City. Agency will be required to schedule desk-side appointments with journalists in targeted markets, provide information about each journalist and story ideas. Agency does not usually attend these visits.
- Create and maintain a shared database for all media contacts, to effectively manage the program’s ability to maintain public relations with key media. This will include creating and maintaining a media database for each affinity group, as well as for general travel. This database will be shared with UOT to use at their discretion.
- Effectively collaborate and communicate with UOT staff to quickly pinpoint potential news for pitching and press releases. Help develop at least 12 timely press releases or pitches highlighting newsworthy Utah stories directly resulting in earned media coverage.
- Establish relationships with national media outlets to continue to share the Utah message. This includes enhancing UOT’s relationships with key media outlets.
- Identifying opportunities for special projects and promotions to help better position Utah in the mind of the traveler, the tourism industry and the media – can include events at the Sundance Film Festival, Tour of Utah, Utah Symphony Tours, etc.
- Create and implement a strategy to address tourism fatigue and overcrowding at the state’s national parks.
- Create and implement a strategy to support the UOT’s Red Emerald Initiative to sustain long-term tourism growth that focuses on visitor quality over quantity through experiences that are distinctive, local, native, authentic and exclusively Utah.
- Expand storytelling of urban Wasatch destinations (SLC, Ogden, Provo, Park City) to build equity in the Wasatch core as a desirable travel destination.
- In the unlikely event of a crisis, work with UOT in best managing media inquiries and communications as needed. Past examples include closure of national parks due to federal government shutdown and public lands disputes
- The agency will be required to work in coordination with UOT to communicate the PR program’s success to our partners, Utah press, the state legislature, and the industry. In addition:
- At least one representative from agency will be required to attend the annual Utah Tourism Conference.
- Report PR efforts and results for specific areas/DMOs/films throughout the year at the UOT’s request.
- At least one in-person report/presentation at a UOT board meeting annually.
- Compile monthly reports to communicate the success of the program, as well as opportunities for partners to be involved in the strategy.
- Track and report coverage and project goals, this includes regular reporting on coverage and media value directly resulting from agency effort, as well as the UOT’s other marketing efforts and may include reporting on Utah Film Commission projects, as directed by UOT PR Manager.
Assist UOT in vetting journalist requests as needed.
- Keep UOT abreast of travel-related trends to best help the office maximize PR efforts.
- Work with the UOT to organize media tool kits for pitching. Tool kits to include story ideas, facts, photos, video, contact information, etc.