Visit Shenandoah Texas Issues Marketing RFP
Shenandoah Convention & Visitors Bureau
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 plan
• 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 include:
• 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 drive demand
• 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 events
• 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 growth.
• 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 use
• 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 place today.
• 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 goal achievement
• 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?
5 p.m. CST on Dec. 10, 2019
Shenandoah Convention & Visitors Bureau
c/o Courtney Clary, City Secretary
City of Shenandoah
29955 Interstate 45 North
Shenandoah, TX 77381