AUGUSTA, ME: The state of Maine has issued an RFP for media and public relations support for its tourism office.
Maine-headquartered boutique firm Marshall Communications has handled the work, but state law requires the contract to be regularly put up for bid, said tourism office director Steve Lyons, who noted that the contacts can run for four or five years.
He added that the RFP closed last month with three firms competing for the work: Broadreach Public Relations, based in Portland, Maine; Dixon Schwabl, of Victor, New York; and the incumbent agency Marshall, based in Augusta, Maine.
Lyons said his office did not include a budget in the RFP. "The idea is to try to get the best price for the work we scoped out in the RFP," he said. Lyons added that because of state contract rules and its fiscal year beginning on July 1, he expects the contract to be awarded before June 15.
The RFP asked bidders to create a comprehensive public and media relations and social media program coordinated with the office of tourism’s annual marketing plan and five-year strategic plan.
"We use our PR program to supplement the paid ad campaign," he said. "The paid campaign allows us to target very specific markets, so it focuses on eastern Canada and the Mid-Atlantic states, but PR also allows us to have a reach with journalists and editors from other parts of the country."
The new agency will be responsible for media outreach to consumer and travel media, social media, special projects, and organizing familiarity trips, or free excursions given to targeted tour operators and travel agents to familiarize them with destinations.