Santa Monica Issues RFP to Attract Visitors to its Downtown

Steve’s breakdown: Everything you’ll need is below. The due date is May 25th and questions should be sent via email to

SANTA MONICA, CA: Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.
Request For Proposals – Media Relations Program

Do you have a passion for story telling? Are persistent and unafraid of rejection? Does your digital Rolodex contain a plethora of cell phone numbers and email addresses for Los Angeles- area journalists and social media influencers?

If yes, then you may be the person or company we’re looking for.

Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM, Inc.) is accepting proposals for publicity and communications representation to promote Downtown Santa Monica and the Third Street Promenade as a premier destination in Southern California, as well as DTSM as a leader in public space management. If chosen, you will be responsible for managing DTSM’s public relations program. That means you’re in the driver’s seat.

Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.


Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. is a private 501c(3) non-profit organization that works with the City of Santa Monica to manage services and operations in Downtown Santa Monica while promoting economic stability, growth and community life within this unique neighborhood.

Formerly the Bayside District Corporation, DTSM, Inc. was founded in 1984 by the City of Santa Monica and now manages the Property-based Business Assessment District bounded by Ocean Avenue to the west, Wilshire Boulevard to the north, Lincoln Boulevard to the east and the Santa Monica Freeway to the south. In 2008, property owners within the district, including the City of Santa Monica, voted to create the assessment district to fund enhanced hospitality and maintenance services, as well as a robust marketing campaign that includes advertising as well as event production to draw residents of Santa Monica and visitors from throughout the region.

Downtown Santa Monica is anchored by the Third Street Promenade, a popular outdoor dining, and entertainment destination that runs three blocks from Wilshire Boulevard to Broadway and is closed off to vehicle traffic. The Promenade is adjacent to Santa Monica Place and is just two blocks away from the historic Santa Monica Pier and the Pacific Ocean.

Downtown Santa Monica and the Third Street Promenade attract roughly 16 million visitors a year and generate over a billion dollars in sales annually.

Publicity and Communications Needs

DTSM, Inc. is looking to increase coverage on a regional and national level. We are seeking an agency that can garner media interest by creating fresh story angles, publicizing the free events and highlighting all the great stores, restaurants and entertainment available to customers. In the past, we have achieved national coverage from Forbes and Variety, as well as local television coverage from all the major network stations. Also, we have received front cover stories in all the local Santa Monica media outlets.

Key Tasks

  • Manage, strategize, oversee DTSM’s PR program
  • Write, disseminate and conduct follow-up to news releases and media alerts.
  • Initiate, plan and execute a minimum of four media events (FAMs) per year.
  • Develop and maintain a targeted media and social media influencer list and spearhead strategic meetings to develop and execute ideas/stories based on a program of events that will generate consumer interest for the destination with a goal of achieving an ongoing stream of media coverage.
  • Initiate, plan and execute a minimum of five (5) social media influencer campaigns per year.
  • Provide merchant product placement through morning shows, weather segments and news features.
  • Must be available for various events to liaison with press as needed throughout the year.
  • Provide a monthly media status report. This report, to be delivered by the end of the first calendar week (5 working days) of the month, should include a complete summary of the month’s activities with story clips, sound bites and video footage. Report must include ad equivalency, circulation and viewership when relevant.


Candidates must have experience working with national and regional media outlets including print, online, and broadcast, as well as social media influencers. Experience working with a travel or shopping destination is a bonus, especially in the Santa Monica area. Coverage should be targeted to both consumer and trade media outlets.

Submissions must include the following items. Each item should be labeled with the corresponding assigned Item Number:

ITEM 1: Cover Letter
Indicate your interest in and qualifications to represent DTSM, Inc, Downtown Santa Monica and Third Street Promenade.

ITEM 2: Portfolio
Include a portfolio highlighting various media coverage garnered in the past twelve (12) months.

ITEM 3: Writing Samples
Please include a minimum of three (3) writing samples or press releases.

ITEM 4: Creative Ideas
Express your strength in pitching original ideas by including a minimum of two (2) story ideas specific to Downtown Santa Monica and/or Third Street Promenade. A comprehensive media plan is preferred, but not required. You may also wish to provide samples of successful media program(s) geared around a brand strategy. All samples should be creative and include execution strategy, demonstrate a return on investment and have an itemized budget.

ITEM 5: Client List & References
Complete client list (past 24 months) with a minimum of three (3) client references. Provide name, title, address, email address and phone number for the contact person for each example project submitted.

ITEM 6: Personnel & Hourly Rates
Indicate agency team structure, including key personnel that will be assigned to this account, as well as their bios, hourly fee structure and any other rate structure(s) that may apply.

ITEM 7: Agency History Length of time in business.

ITEM 8: Pricing Annual fee for services

Additional Requirements

All vendors must hold a City of Santa Monica Business License. Depending on scope and budget of individual projects, vendors may be required to meet the city’s insurance guidelines.

At its sole discretion, DTSM, Inc. reserves the right to (1) withdraw this Request for Proposals (RFP) without notice, (2) accept or reject any or all submittals, and (3) accept submittals which deviate from the RFP as DTSM, Inc. deems appropriate and in its best interest. DTSM, Inc. reserves the right to negotiate with any, all or none of the applicants responding to the RFP. Following submission, the applicant agrees to deliver such further details, information, and assurances relating to the purpose of providing a Media Relations Program. Presentations regarding submissions may be required at the sole discretion of DTSM, Inc. and may include a review of current services offered at other locations.

Any and all costs and expenses associated with the preparation of any report or statement in response to the RFP shall be borne by the applicant.

DTSM, Inc. shall have no obligation or liability with respect to this RFP and/or this selection and award process or whether any award will be made. Any recipient of this RFP who responds hereto fully acknowledges all the provisions of this disclaimer and agrees to be bound by the terms hereof. DTSM, Inc. reserves the right to use any information submitted in response to this document in any manner it deems appropriate in evaluating the services proposed.

Terms and Conditions of the Contract

The term of this contract will be for twelve (12) months from contract execution. Thereafter, DTSM,Inc. will have the option to renew said contract for a minimum period of three (3) months or up to two (2) additional years. DTSM, Inc. may terminate the contract without penalty at any time, with or without cause, by giving the contractor thirty (30) days prior written notice of its election to terminate. In the event the contractor fails to perform services or is in default under the terms of the contract, DTSM, Inc. may terminate the contract immediately and the contractor shall be paid only for the services provided, less any damages or costs incurred by DTSM, Inc. in the termination of the contract.

Proposal Guidelines
Deadline for proposals: 5pm Friday, May 18, 2018

This is not a postmark deadline. Submissions must arrive prior to the deadline. Late or incomplete submissions will not be accepted. Emailed submissions will not be accepted. Failure to comply with the requirements described in this RFP may result in disqualification.

Mail to: Mackenzie Carter
Director, Marketing & Communications

Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.
1351 Third Street Promenade, Suite 201

Santa Monica, CA 90401-1321

❑ Preferred format: PDF, PowerPoint or print (Please provide five copies of your proposal).

  • ❑  Proposals from individuals and agencies will be reviewed.
  • ❑  Questions should be sent via email to

    Review Process

    You will receive notification after Friday, May 25, 2018, if we are interested in your proposal and you qualify for the presentation portion of the RFP process. Presentation interviews will be scheduled the week of May 28, 2018.


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