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Allegany County, MD
Request for website: Responsive website redesign and CMS rebuild.
Allegany County Tourism, located in Allegany County, Maryland is a Destination Marketing Organization that promotes tourism within this region of the state. Allegany County Tourism is an all-inclusive model, meaning we promote all businesses who have a direct tie to the tourism within our county. There are currently no memberships or paid listings to be listed on our website.
Allegany County Tourism is supported by the county’s Hotel and Motel Tax revenue collected on lodging within our county. We recognize the need to update and improve our brand’s awareness and impression through our website – www.mdmountainside.com.
To remain competitive in the ever-changing world of the Internet, the purpose of this request for proposal (RFP) is to seek and acquire a qualified firm/agency to develop and design a new destination website for Allegany County Tourism under the same domain.
We are asking for a formal proposal that accommodates the attached criteria. The proposal must include outlined descriptions of costs for this project. Please also indicate expenses that should be expected after the completion of the project including any annual fees, hosting costs, professional service support, etc. Additionally, please indicate the approximate timeframe for the completion of this project and standard billing policies and terms.
Allegany County is situated in the heart of Western Maryland equidistant from Baltimore, MD, Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh. PA. It is crossed by Interstate 68 and the main lines of CSX Transportation, providing excellent access to major markets in the East and Midwest. Allegany County offers a population of approximately 75,000, 1,530 diverse businesses employ 22,800 workers with more than 30 of these firms employing over 100.
Outdoor recreation is a key attraction and very popular amongst visitors. Allegany County features 60,000 acres of public wild lands in the county, with one out of every four acres being public land. Our outdoor recreation options with Rocky Gap State Park and Green Ridge State Forest (second largest in the state!) offer ample amounts of hiking, biking, kayaking/canoeing, fishing, and the ultimate setting for just taking in Mother Nature. The Great Allegheny Passage which has received press accolades from the Washington Post to the New York Times continues to rack up awards like Bicycling Magazine’s “Top Rail Trails Every Cyclist Should Ride,” to National Geographic’s, “One of the Top Fall Trips in the World.” This 150-mile trail which runs from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD, before connecting to the C&O Canal which leads riders through to Washington DC, connects riders with two trail towns – Frostburg and Cumberland.
With a vibrant and successful Arts and Entertainment District in historic Downtown Cumberland and the City of Frostburg, Allegany County is gaining a well-deserved reputation as a regional arts destination. Year-round programming in the visual, performing and literary arts means there is always something new and exciting for visitors to enjoy. The community incorporates a rich theatre base that extends from community, university and even educational options and boasts many premier locations that highlight open mic nights and live music. And, let's not forget DelFest, a family-friendly music festival celebrating the rich legacy of McCoury Music and the second largest bluegrass festival in the country, which calls Allegany County home.
The county has rich historic and heritage assets which boasts three centuries of American history. Key features include, George Washington’s headquarters which was built in 1754, the beginning of the first federally funded road, the National Road, which began in Cumberland, MD, in 1811, the Tollhouse or “Gateway to the West,” Evergreen Heritage Center which dates back to the American Revolution, and many locations that are recognized by the Maryland Historical Trust and National Register of Historic Places. Most iconic, the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, which has been a staple in our community, commuting riders through the scenic landscape of Mountain Maryland.
In addition, Allegany County accommodations can serve as a base for exploring attractions and the great outdoors. Allegany County is a getaway destination which boasts a handful of quaint and uniquely appointed bed and breakfasts, large selection of chain-hotels and beautifully set campgrounds. Rocky Gap Casino Resort is one of six casinos in the state, offering 600 slots and 17 table games.
Current Web Presence:
The Allegany County Tourism’s website: www.mdmountainside.com is in particular need of a significant rebuild. It is a nonresponsive design and built on a business structure that no longer matches the vision and strategy for county tourism. It is heavily business listing focused and the event calendar structure is challenging to read inclusively. There is little ability to add content which is critical in today’s content driven society.
For visitors, the experience and impression does not tell our story or provide an overall destination awareness goal. For many, it is unclear that the website is a model for county tourism and is destined to be a travel and tourism focused website.
New Website Functionality and Features:
As marketing evolves, it is essential to update the website with the latest technology to ensure that potential visitors will find the information they are seeking quickly and efficiently, and return to the site frequently. By implementing these new technologies, Allegany County Tourism seeks to convert people who are researching destinations into actual visitors.
Our hope is that an appealing and reliable website will equally: inspire visitors to look deeper into an Allegany County, Maryland, getaway experience, give visitors the information and links they need for vacation planning, encourage them to share their information so we can stay in contact, and help us gather and share data that reflect our appeal to various demographic groups.
Editorial and content creation with the addition of landing pages should be the main focus of the website. Telling stories that drive engagement and for visitors to then learn more about tourism related businesses. Local area stakeholders are eager for a website that is representative of our brand, which will elevate their business and be a great feeder to their business listings. The new website should have a thought out directory space but not be the primary focus of the website. Events are another necessary element and should have a clear feature on the homepage and a well-thought display for a calendar. Because so much information is reliant on the businesses themselves (listing updates and events) a backend login for business is necessary to centralize the data input.
Scope of Services:
Develop a freshly designed, engaging and dynamic responsive design.
Design www.mdmountainside.com to maximize its exposure on search engines and improve website ranking.
Straightforward and powerful CMS with Allegany County Tourism granted the ability to edit content such as copy, images, meta data, additional landing page builds, within our own needs. Ability for enhanced listing functionality is a must.
Migration of content currently on mdmountainside.com and its sub-domains including member listings, content, landing pages and future events.
Social Media integration and sharing features. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the major accounts Allegany County Tourism uses.
Develop an easy to read and share events calendar. Ability for external business login to edit their business listings and upload events to the events calendar.
Statistical system reports for member partner listing information. For example, the ability to run a report showing how many impressions and click-thrus any listing, event, package, coupon, or ad received for a particular partner.
Form development for visitor feedback and registrations.
Ability to house our Visitor Guide which will be digitalized into a flipbook.
Connectivity to Google Analytics for reporting.
Possible website features:
Trip Planner / itinerary builder.
Intuitive / advanced site search feature.
**These requirements are subject to change throughout the project development process based on Allegany County, Maryland’s, wants or agency suggestions.
Provider may be selected to host the website on its own server or with a reliable provider. Tourism is looking for a speedy / secure hosting option.
Provider will need to ensure the measures to safeguard the website security.
Provider will design the website so that Allegany County Tourism can make routine changes to content through web interfaces via CMS. Provider must provide tutorial to Tourism team before website launch.
All individuals, businesses and organizations are eligible to submit a proposal for design services.
Cover letter briefly explaining your professional background illustrating your ability to fulfill the tasks described above and why you are interested in working with Allegany County, Tourism.
Work plan including the costs (Travel arrangements and expenses for web agency are expected to be included in redesign pricing; Allegany County Tourism will not be responsible for additional travel expenses). The costs for this website should be broken down into the following categories: redesign/development, hosting, security and maintenance/tracking.
Three professional references.
A list of links of examples of work. Please only include working websites. Must provide at least three examples in the Tourism and Hospitality industry.
Proposals will be evaluated by a committee based on the following attributes:
Experience / Staff - 25%
Cost - 25%
Aesthetics - 20%
CMS Solution - 10%
Hosting Solution - 10%
Timeline - 10%
October 16, 2017 - RFP Issue Date
November 21, 2017 - Deadline for response to RFP. All proposals are due by 4:00 pm.
Ashli Workman, Tourism Director
Allegany County Government
701 Kelly Road
Cumberland, MD 21502
November 22 – December 6, 2017 - Receive evaluations of proposals by the review committee
TBD: Awarding of contract by Board of County Commissioners.
Allegany County reserves the right to reject any and all proposals received as a result of this RFP. If a proposal is selected, it will be the most advantageous regarding price, quality of service, the contractor’s qualifications and capabilities to provide the specified service, and other factors that the County may consider.
Allegany County reserves the right to consider proposals for modifications at any time before a contract would be awarded, and negotiations would be undertaken with that individual whose proposal is deemed to best meet Allegany County’s specifications and needs.
In the event it becomes necessary to revise any part of the RFP, addenda will be provided. Deadlines for submission of proposals may be adjusted to allow for revisions.
Late or incomplete proposals will not be considered.
All graphics, images, databases, search engines, web pages, sources, hyperlinks, and any other materials, or website components created for this contract are the express property of Allegany County Tourism