Destination Development RFA Opportunity

About Travel Oregon
The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, works to enhance visitors’ experience by providing information, resources and trip planning tools that inspire travel and consistently convey the exceptional quality of Oregon. The Commission aims to improve Oregonians’ quality of life by strengthening economic impacts of the state’s $11.8 billion-dollar tourism industry that employs more than 112,000 Oregonians.  

About Destination Development
The Destination Development department is an eight-person team focused on community-based services, product development and destination management. Destination Development provides planning, training and coaching to help communities create a shared vision to advance and manage tourism and destination experiences in their region. The destination development programming includes the community based services including the Oregon Tourism Studios as well as product development initiatives and destination management services. Success stories from communities that have engaged in one of those components are available here 

Community-Based Services: Oregon Tourism Studios
We want to inspire travel that drives economic development while ensuring the preservation of Oregon’s way of life and its natural places. To help communities across the state increase their economic vibrancy by improving their appeal as visitor destinations, Travel Oregon’s Destination Development department offers the Oregon Tourism Studios. The three studio types include the Rural Tourism StudioDestination Management Studio and Tourism Experience Studio.  Through this program, the Destination Development department helps communities cultivate regional visions; identify strategies to harness the power of tourism; and focus on product development which is the development unique experiences in culinary and agritourism, outdoor recreation, bicycle tourism, cultural heritage tourism and more. Through this process, we help leaders build resilient regional networks and leadership skills to manage tourism development. Our three types of tourism studios allow us to customize training programs for each community’s specific needs and interests.  

At the end of the studio program, the Destination Development department works with the organizing steering committee and studio participants to form action teams and a leadership network that implements between one to five projects within the first year following completion of the studio. These projects typically focus on product development in culinary and agritourism, outdoor recreation, bicycle tourism, or cultural heritage; on addressing critical management issues such as congestion mitigation or waste management; or on visitor communications and destination marketing. Depending on the needs of the participation region, Travel Oregon engages content experts and other consulting entities to support priorities and outcomes from the program.  

Product (Experience) Development: Statewide Product Initiatives and Networks
Travel Oregon’s Product Development team leads and supports in statewide and regional collaborations to support excellent tourism experiences and positive community impact. The Product Development team responds to a combination of community input, analysis of Oregon tourism statistics, and global/national tourism trends.

The DDEV Dept. currently leads two primary statewide networks: Oregon Outdoor Recreation Network (OORN); and Oregon Agritourism Network (OAN). Travel Oregon network design structure has been evolving; The OORN structure consists of a Core Team, Active Partners, Engaged Participants; Action Teams are established to tackle priority projects to address challenges and opportunities identified by stakeholders in the network.  

Oregon Outdoor Recreation Network (OORN) phase one concluded in August 2017 (report here). Phase two kicked off seven action teams and shifted the Initiative (OORI) to a Network (OORN). Action teams include: outdoor recreation economic impact study, visitor communication strategy, transportation, equity, network. We have one completed – establish an Oregon Office of Outdoor Recreation. This body is also planning a 2019 Outdoor Recreation Summit.  

Oregon Agritourism Network (OAN) is working to advance agritourism in the state, with a focus on farm and farmer-centric activities. Established in 2015, accomplishments include development of Oregon Agritourism Handbook, technical assistance to dozens of operators and serving as a trusted convener and educator. In July 2018 Travel Oregon held a Coordination Committee meeting which created a new OAN Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is setting revised priorities, which include improving coordination, support agritourism businesses, and explore policy barriers. An OAN meeting is set of Feb 22nd 

Additional program areas of work in the Product Development area are: Visitor Transportation; Guide and Outfitter Trainings and working toward innovative permitting practices; perusing public land stewardship through partnerships, and cultural heritage.  

Destination Management
A recent focus of the Destination Development department has been the advancement of destination management activities across Oregon’s tourism industry. The primary objective is to mitigate unintended negative impacts from tourism in high use destinations such as the Columbia River Gorge and Oregon’s North Coast. Initial areas of focus for this effort include developing a stronger set of tools to address issues such as: 

  • Carrying capacity on public lands 
  • Responsible visitor communications 
  • Visitor transportation solutions 
  • Workforce development 
  • Affordable housing 

An example destination management project in Oregon is the Ready, Set, GOrge! program in the Columbia River Gorge. The program established a public private partnership of land managers, conservation groups and tourism marketers to develop a set of key messages for responsible recreation in the Columbia River Gorge. Key messages are then delivered to visitors before and during visits to ensure that their time in the area is safe and helps reduce congestion at signature locations. Travel Oregon recognizes that destination management activities are most successful when embraced and implemented across many sectors within a destination.  

Areas of Support
The purpose of this Request for Applicants is to solicit interest to support the greater Destination Development body of work. Many of these areas are captured within the 2017-2019 Travel Oregon Strategic Plan and the 2017-2018 Travel Oregon Annual Report 

There are several areas of work where support is needed includes the following: 

(i) Tourism Planning and Strategy
Destination Development receives a significant number of requests from Oregon communities for support around tourism planning and strategy. This is aimed at supporting public agencies, private enterprise, community leaders and youth design the future of a growing tourism economy. Specifically, the contractor can address their ability to assist in planning and strategy which could include Tourism Planning, Community Strategy, Organizational Strategy, Meeting and Process Facilitation. This could include the following areas of work and beyond: 

  1. Cultivating a community/regional vision with broad engagement 
  2. Convening collaborative sessions where community members define how they would like to evolve and develop  
  3. Developing destination strategies in the form of a plan 
  4. Addressing sustainable tourism development that sustains and enhance the region – Congestion at the “lures” during peak season; overtaxed infrastructure in some areas; Preserving cultural and environmental assets  
  5. Compiling relevant industry information for a tourism plan  
  6. Destination leadership, development, and management strategies 
  7. Planning for the varying seasonality of visitation 
  8. Capitalizing on and making the most of visionary projects underway in the region 
  9. Developing and connecting new ‘product’ (experiences) throughout the entire region, particularly focused on three areas:  outdoor recreation, culinary/agritourism and cultural heritage 
  10. Organizational Strategy that supports effective organizational development, structure, communication, and more.  
  11. Facilitating statewide network meetings or action teams 

A strong applicant in this area would have excellent skills with spoken and written communication, group facilitation, collecting community input, building engagement, familiarity with tourism, and written plan design and development.  

(ii) Trainers and Content Experts 

Destination Development delivers several community-based tourism development and product development initiative programs. In this role, staff frequently act in the role of both process facilitator and content expert. To expand on the impact, reach, and frequency of these programs, it is necessary to expand capacity by growing the stable of trainers and experts available to support staff and these programs. 

For the purpose of this RFA, Destination Development is specifically seeking trainers who have experience creating participant-centered, experiential education workshops as well as reputable content experts with experience developing or supporting the creation of world-class experiences through product development. It is understood that RFA applicants may not have both process facilitation skills and context expertise.   

A trainer is someone who manages the delivery process, creates the workshop agenda, organizes speakers and facilitates a workshop – it is ideal to have strong content knowledge of the delivery area(s) but may not to be to the depth of a content expert. Content expert is someone who attends the workshops, offers specific input on a niche content area, provides the most effective strategies during the workshop, and can potentially support the action teams as part of follow-up.  

Seeking Content Experts and Trainers in the Following Areas:  

(1) Outdoor Recreation (Content Experts and Trainers Needed) 

a. General Outdoor Recreation – Oregon is known for its scenic beauty and outdoor recreation; travel demand for nature-based and outdoor recreation experiences have steadily been on the rise.  Oregon has a plethora of outdoor recreation opportunities that include fishing, rafting, biking, hiking, horse riding, OHV driving, wind sports, snow sports, shooting sports and much more. Consultants that act as community-based experts on outdoor recreation should have a wide breath of content knowledge including familiarity with the adventure traveler, strategies for sustainability and seasonality, recreation trends, guiding and outfitting, and Oregon’s product and how a community can realize it for sustainable tourism. 

b. Water Recreation – Water recreation is a growing subset of the greater recreation experience that visitors come to Oregon for – especially whitewater rafting, SUPing, kayaking, surfing, scuba diving, and more. Travel Oregon is receiving new requests for water-based tourism studios and the Product Development team is looking at key water-based initiatives that would build on Oregon’s competitive advantage. To serve Oregon’s communities and the state, consultants should have experience with water-based recreation and conservation principles and strategies to advance both at once.  

c. Gravel & Road Cycling – cycling is one of Oregon’s competitive outdoor products that we have been advancing for some time. We specifically are looking for content consultants that can provide strategy and solutions to advancing gravel and road cycling in the state and the community level. 

(2) Culinary & Agritourism (Content Experts and Trainers Needed) 

a. Trainer and Experts: culinary and agritourism studio workshops, follow-up work and specific agritourism niche development such as farm and ranch stays 

b. Culinary element – Oregon is known for its culinary splendors and visitors crave unique culinary experiences. A contractor in this space would help Travel Oregon tap into the statewide foodie scene and help us piece together effective ways culinary experiences so that they can lead to agritourism opportunities.

(3) Cultural Heritage (Strategy Consultant) 

a. Oregon’s Cultural Heritage Context and Strategy – Oregon has deep history and culture and we hear from stakeholders around Oregon that cultural heritage is important to their work. A consultant in this area would have a strong understanding of the cultural heritage landscape and help Travel Oregon and tourism partners navigate effective ways to engage. 

(4) Tour Operator, Guides and Outfitters (Trainers Needed)

a. Introductory 101 Training including basics of: business development; emergency management plans, insurance, basics of customer service, marketing 101; permitting

b. Intermediate 201 Training including deeper dive into: insurance and liability, advanced marketing, global sales channels, innovative practices and interpretation 

c. Other possible work includes: follow-up work from workshops; one on one business consulting; and development of on-line educational materials.  

(5) Visitor Transportation (Implementation Content Experts Needed) 

a. Oregon Visitor Transportation Strategy and Implementation – Travel Oregon is seeking to build up our work on supporting the implementation of visitor transportation strategies.  This includes projects such as the “Around the Mountain” transportation study, supporting Amtrak rail, and transportation for special events such as Oregon 21. A consultant in this space would support Travel Oregon to improve its visitor transportation action strategy and execution of it. 


  • Dec. 5 – Travel Oregon issues non-competitive RFA 
  • Jan. 11 – Last day to submit questions to Travel Oregon (procedure described
    below in “Other Considerations) 
  • Jan. 22 – Proposals due to Travel Oregon by 5 p.m. PST
    *Dates subject to change at sole discretion of Travel Oregon 

Please share the following information: 

  1. Cover letter (not to exceed two pages): A dated cover letter describing the proposer’s background; clients; experience; and specific areas of expertise in relation to the scope of work outlined. Include number of years in business and scope of general services provided to clients. Please include professional affiliation with any industry associations and groups. The letter must be signed by an official who has authority to enter into a service agreement on behalf of the firm.  
  2. Previous Experience (not to exceed five pages): Detailed description of the proposer’s background, experience, and specific areas of expertise in relation to the following, providing work and work samples as appropriate:  
  3. Strategy – (not to exceed two pages): Based on program goals, outline the areas of work you would propose to support the scope outlined above and how you would measure success.  
  4. Key Personnel – (not to exceed three pages): Provide a professional biography or summary for the personnel who will be working with Travel Oregon, including subcontractors. Include any accreditation, license, or special training related to services requested. Principal(s), project managers, day-to-day contact staffers, and additional team members must be identified. Discuss their roles in relation to the work areas.   
  5. Fees/Value & Proposed Budget– (not to exceed one page): 
  6. References (not two exceed one page):Provide a list of at least three business references for which the firm has provided similar services. Include a contact name, organization’s name, email, web address, phone number, and relationship for each reference. 
  7. Outline daily fees and/or hourly rate for personnel who will be assigned to the Travel Oregon programs. Identify billing method for mobilization (travel time). Transportation costs, meals and lodging are typically reimbursed at government per-diem. 
  8. Please explain the respondent’s billing and cost-accountability systems 
  9. List any cost savings and/or added value proposals offered 

Other Considerations
Confidentiality: Travel Oregon is a semi-independent agency of the State of Oregon. It is understood that proposals may contain confidential information relating to a previous client strategies, goals and results. Any materials submitted to Travel Oregon, including proposals, documents, correspondence or other materials, may be subject to Oregon Public Records Law. Travel Oregon cannot guarantee confidentiality of any materials received. Whether documents or any portion of a document submitted as part of a proposal may be exempt from disclosure may depend upon official or judicial determinations made pursuant to the Public Records Law. As a result, proposers are advised to consult with legal counsel regarding disclosure issues.

Material Rights/Ownership: Materials developed and produced by contractor toward Travel Oregon scope of work is directly owned by Travel Oregon. Materials may not be repurposed or republished without prior expressed written consent by Travel Oregon staff.  

RFA Questions/Clarifications: Questions regarding this non-competitive RFA process must be emailed to Travel Oregon may post repetitive questions and responses to a page on the Travel Oregon industry website.

Cost for Preparation of Proposals: Travel Oregon is not responsible under any circumstances for any costs incurred as the result of the preparation or submission of the respondent’s proposals.

Equal Opportunity: Travel Oregon encourages businesses owned by any race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation or belief to submit a response to this RFA. Oregon companies and entities are strongly preferred.

Materials Submission Requirements
All materials must be received no later than 5 p.m. PST, Jan 22, 2019 to be considered. All shared information and accompanying materials must be submitted in printed/electronic form. Any digital assets or proposal materials should be provided on drive and included. Respondents must provide one copy electronically and one paper copy of all materials. Time of receipt will be determined by Travel Oregon and will be finalized when material is received by Travel Oregon. 

Submit one electronic copy and one paper proposals to:
ATTN: VP of Destination Development
Travel Oregon
319 SW Washington St, Suite 700
Portland, OR 97204 

Want more information about Destination Development RFA Opportunity?

If you have additional questions or comments about Destination Development RFA Opportunity, please contact the appropriate member of the Travel Oregon staff listed below.

  1. Alexa Carey
  2. Scott Bricker