PR Review: Maryland Office of Tourism

Annapolis-RattiSteve’s breakdown: Download the RFP from this page: Public Relations Counsel and Services 2016 Final.pdf  The main contact is Brenda Lee at brenda.lee@maryland.gov & 410-767-2345

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BALTIMORE, MD: The Maryland Department of Commerce promotes the state’s many advantages to spur business and economic development. As a major economic generator for the state, the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts is housed within Commerce.

The Maryland Office of Tourism Development’s (OTD) mission is to increase tourism expenditures (visitor spending) to the state by: promoting Maryland’s attractions, accommodations, and visitor services; providing resident and non- resident visitors with information and services to insure a positive trip experience; and positioning Maryland as a competitive worldwide destination.

OTD’s effectiveness is measured through increased number of visitors, visitor length of stay and visitor expenditures. Maryland welcomed 38.2 million domestic visitors in 2014. The average duration of a visitor stay in Maryland is 1.3 nights. The average visitor spending in Maryland is $303.00 per day. Maryland visitors spent $16.4 billion on travel- related expenses in 2014, which generated $2.2 billion in state and local taxes that saves each Maryland taxpayer $1,010 per year. A current Annual Report and Marketing Development Plan may be found online at http://industry.visitmaryland.org/.

Third-party endorsement of Maryland as a travel destination is a compelling motivator for consumers planning their leisure and business activities. In-house public relations activities have proven to be a key element in successfully promoting our destination via third-party editorial coverage. OTD’s current goal is to generate $15 million in yearly advertising equivalency.

Strategically, OTD has recently concluded a five-year stretch of advertising that promoted three nationally significant commemorations. Going forward, OTD will showcase other areas that present consumers with varied reasons to select Maryland as their preferred travel destination. The areas of focus are but not limited to:

  •   Culinary: Maryland offers unique local flavors and innovative award-winning culinary delights. From authentic Chesapeake Bay cuisine and seafood festivals, to some of the region’s best new chefs, eateries, breweries, distilleries and wineries, Maryland boasts a mouth-watering culinary scene.
  •   Harriet Tubman & the Underground Railroad: Opening in March 2017, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center will immerse visitors in Tubman’s world through exhibits that are informative, evocative and emotive. This new Maryland state park is located on the Underground Railroad National Byway.
  •   Special Events, New Products and Seasonal Campaigns: Examples for 2016 and beyond include, but are not limited to, Maryland Fleet Week & Air Show Baltimore, OTD advertising launches, IPW June 2017 (an international tradeshow), etc.
  •   Initiatives: OTD has several ongoing initiatives that include, but are not limited to, scenic byways, land and water trails, outdoor recreation, and Fish and Hunt Maryland.
  •   Partnerships: OTD also works cooperatively with tourism industry associations; the Maryland Tourism Coalition; other local, county, state and federal agencies; and regional tourism PR groups to amplify messaging as it relates to state-wide tourism. One example for calendar year 2016 would be the centennial of the National Park Service.The selected firm awarded this contract will provide resources and personnel to increase media placements with a slight emphasis on obtaining national media attention (60% national, 40% regional).

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