The final Destination Strategic Plan should include, but not
be limited to:
1. An evaluation of Shenandoah’s
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Emphasis should be placed on
how the area’s assets can be used to attract increased visitors.
2. Identification, evaluation and
prioritization of any key product or deficiencies in the area. This evaluation
should provide recommendations for making the best use of the current
infrastructure and identifying what additional infrastructure is needed. Our
hope is that the CVB/Shenandoah will use this information to prioritize the
types of products our area needs and ones that require additional investment.
We also hope that in the future, we might identify areas/ways of working
together with surrounding communities on a project rather than each trying to
build their own project (and cannibalizing each other’s efforts) – working
smarter and co-operatively in that area whenever possible.
3. A comprehensive inventory of
major existing and planned amenities and products in the surrounding
area/communities that could be leveraged for the tourism and hospitality
industries. This should include the amenity name, description, address,
timeline (if not already existing) and discussion as to how it could be
leveraged to attract more visitors.
4. An assessment of the existing
tourism product in the surrounding area/communities with an analysis of
strengths and future opportunities.
5. A comparison of how the CVB
compares to two to three competitive cities or aspirational destinations
6. A study of the area
infrastructure (soft and hard) to support increased levels of visitation with
statistical detail based on industry norms. This must also consider regional
and local efforts planned to service the resident population.
7. Comparisons with similar
destinations that are able to bring multiple cities together to grow tourism
with an emphasis on generating new jobs, growing the tax base and adding to the
desirability of the destination as a place to live.
8. Identify Shenandoah’s
competitive markets, and the city’s compelling and competitive advantage.
9. An assessment of the
effectiveness and adequacy of the current destination marketing program and
recommended strategies to improve these initiatives. Particular emphasis should
be provided on how we can enhance these efforts to ensure the overall increased
visitation goal is met. This assessment should include recommended operating
guidelines for the programs to achieve the desired development results.
10. Develop a communication tool to
highlight “current” and “future” state.
11. How will industry and business
change in the next three, five and ten years that will affect hotel demand?
12. Presentation of the Plan at a
City Council meeting.
The Shenandoah CVB recognizes its role in contributing to
the development of our destination, which in turn should increase visitors and
group business, positively affecting the area’s economy. The Shenandoah CVB
operates a Visitor Center that provides office space to its two CVB staff, and
in prior years, has attempted to market the area as a destination for leisure,
sports, meetings and corporate travel with varying degrees of success.
Recently, the bureau has redoubled those efforts, and has created a new
website, and begun highlighting its value proposition with great access,
quality hotels, and abundance of shopping, new entertainment options and
restaurants, while touting its proximity to its neighbors, their attractions,
and area hospitals. The CVB strives to work with community leaders to improve
infrastructure, policies and regulations that deliver the highest tourism
return-on-investment and that positively impact our area. We also look to
identify new destination enhancing developments that should be considered for
future public sector investment and continue to advocate to elected officials
and the private sector for enhancements to venues and amenities in the metro
that would draw overnight and weekend visitors and positively impact the
economy. The CVB recently hired a new Director, John Mayner, MBA, CDME, who has
extensive background and experience working in the tourism/DMO space, most
recently having served as V.P., Marketing & Communications for the Little
Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau. Prior to Mayner’s appointment, the
bureau had not had a senior-level director with relevant industry experience
for a number of years. As a result, the timing is right for the Shenandoah CVB
to distribute this RFP to solicit firms to assist it in the creation of a
destination plan, in order to develop a research-driven, strategic plan to
serve as the backbone and guide our destination strategy. The selected firm or
team will need to provide a broad range of services and expertise in order to
help guide us through our tourism development efforts over the next five to ten
years. We want to ensure funding and destination development are aligned
between the CVB, our partners and other stakeholders to meet the long-term
goals of the community.
Scope of Work:
The contracted firm will develop a Destination Strategic
Plan and work with the CVB staff who will assist by providing existing
information, introductions to key stakeholders, along with input and
suggestions. The Plan should focus on the following objectives:
• Stakeholder Analysis: Need to conduct a stakeholder
analysis with business owners and their employees, community leaders,
developers, elected officials, attraction/venue operators (all those that might
have direct and/or indirect contact with our area’s tourism industry).
• Survey potentially needs to include both locals as well as
some in surrounding communities
• Will need to discuss potential needs with community
stakeholders and leaders
• Build an summary of the results to fashion an overview of
expressed community desires, and a way to integrate them into an actionable
• Competitive Analysis: Identify and assess gaps and
specific niches in the area’s tourism infrastructure which, if filled, would
position Shenandoah as a competitive leisure, small meetings and/or sports
destination, as well as location for possible medical tourism hub. This would
• Assessment of the area’s development mix (existing
product) and the city’s existing development plans • Identification of
potential new or enhanced tourism demand generators
• Strategies to enhance attractions, events or assets to
• Recommendations on how our area can foster the growth of
attractions and events that are of interest to visitors, while preserving,
protecting and growing locals’ access to and enjoyment of those attractions and
• Identify whether new infrastructure would raise our status
as a competitive destination for leisure and group visitors.
• Identify how tourism impacts the workforce and drives population
• City/Destination Sustainability: Since our city has been
the beneficiary of sales tax revenue generated by its numerous retail shopping
areas and given the changes that are taking place across the retail landscape,
we’d like to have an assessment done of our current retail areas, and explore
their long-time viability and threats as well as develop possible strategies
for ensuring their ongoing relevance and vibrancy. Additionally, with the
addition of three new hotel properties, and a possibility for future hotel
development in the years ahead, we need to be able to review both existing and
future opportunities and assess the near-term for inventory absorption given
market projections; assess impacts on city infrastructure and services; review
and/or develop new policies regarding their development, so that they benefit
the destination and community. Finally, identify any gaps and niches that would
augment and support the city’s sustainability, with an exploration/rationale as
to why you feel they might sustain our efforts over the longer-term. Retail
assessment portion would include:
• Right-sizing space and/or thoughts regarding current and
possible future uses
• Evaluation of business mix and/or tenants for highest/best
• Thoughts for incentivizing for redevelopment Hotel
assessment portion would include:
• Review existing hotel inventory and new hotel development
to determine its impact on current supply/demand/occupancy
• Determine if existing city policies regarding hotel
development need to be changed
• Thoughts on short-term rentals continuing impact on
sector, and city’s need to determine a plan and policies beyond what it has in
• Evaluate trends impacting the destination marketing
industry and the opportunities and threats they represent to the CVB and city.
This work should result in an increased awareness of the relevancy of the
Shenandoah CVB, and the tourism industry as a whole.
• Create key performance indicators to measure and track
• Finally, as a separately priced potential add-on, does
your firm/team have the ability to analyze tourism patterns and flows
in-destination, to augment the above research, and to analyze and show how
visitors/guests currently experience our city (where they go/what they do/how
they spend their time) while they are here? If so, an explanation of that
process, what technology is used, and separate pricing would be appreciated (no
guarantees of including it in this bid for this year’s budget is given).
Finally, if your firm or team is selected to develop this plan, include any of
the following items that might aid in preparing a comprehensive plan:
• Identify any proprietary technology, business practices,
or tools that can help in the development of the above stated areas.
• Should your firm be able to find and address Item 1 (gaps
and niches), does it also have the ability to move immediately from this report
into producing a feasibility study or implementation of results to address that
niche or gap, especially if it was time sensitive?
• Finally, does your firm or team have relationships with
developers in the above areas that it might be beneficial to the CVB/city and
help facilitate project developments in any of the above areas?