Glenwood Springs puts tourism contract bid process in motion |

Glenwood Springs puts tourism contract bid process in motion

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – City officials have taken the next step before formally putting the Glenwood Springs 2012 tourism promotion contract out to competitive bid.

City Council last week unanimously approved spending up to $12,500 to hire a consultant to draft a formal request for proposals (RFP).

The RFP will be used to seek bids from organizations and marketing firms to handle the city’s tourism marketing efforts next year. That contract has historically been given to the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association without a bidding process.

The move came as one of the final acts of the former City Council before three new council members were sworn in at the April 14 meeting.

Recently, the city’s new Tourism Promotion Board selected Kate Collins of Write Brain West to put together the scope of work and other specifications to be included in the RFP. Collins is a former chamber vice president of tourism marketing who now has her own business.

After the RFP is advertised, bids are expected to be due back by mid-summer, and the contract could be awarded by Aug. 1, city manager Jeff Hecksel said.

The contract for Collins to write the RFP is for $8,500, plus expenses. The extra money that was appropriated will allow for some flexibility, he said.

The chamber has been the official organization in charge of marketing efforts using proceeds from the city’s 2.5 percent accommodations (lodging) tax since the tax was put in place more than 20 years ago.

Previously, the chamber was also charged with appointing a tourism board to oversee the marketing efforts.

Last year, City Council decided to remove the board function from the chamber and instead set up a new City Council-appointed tourism board with more citizen representation. The nine-member city tourism board now includes a mix of five tourism and nontourism business representatives, as well as four at-large citizen representatives.

The chamber will continue in its capacity as the city’s tourism promotion agency for this year, under a contract extension reached with the city last fall.

Earlier this year, council members said the decision to bid out the tourism contract was not a negative reflection on the job the chamber has done. Rather, it’s meant to bring more accountability to the process of spending public tax dollars.

“There will be an opportunity for the chamber to apply again, and I look forward to extending that opportunity,” Councilman Dave Sturges said at a February meeting. “This is a way to bring the open market into this very important process.”

The money for the contract to develop the RFP will come from the city’s tourism tax fund, which so far this year is running about 5.68 percent ahead of 2010, Hecksel noted.

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