Other Agencies and Organizations, Departmental  


    Invitation to Negotiate


    VISIT FLORIDA’s pursuit of additional marketing funding during the most recent legislative session resulted in an allocation of $33.35 million. Although short of its full funding goal, a significant opportunity, in the form of an additional $8.65 million, now exists to demonstrate the larger impact of desired funding levels should they be made available in the future.

    VISIT FLORIDA’s committee structure recently endorsed a plan to allocate up to $1.35 million of the $8.65 million Legislative funding toward programs that will fill gaps in the existing marketing plan, as well as demonstrate the effectiveness of appropriate levels of funding when focused on key feeder markets. In addition, the industry has strongly encouraged VISIT FLORIDA to allocate the largest possible portion of the remaining monies toward broadcast network television campaign, a first for VISIT FLORIDA, utilizing recently produced television commercials.

    Program Goals

    VISIT FLORIDA seeks to implement an integrated marketing program that expends $7.3 million in currently uncommitted funds. From these available funds, $4.3 million are to be allocated toward a broadcast network television media plan. The plan(s) sought in this Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) process should deliver a return on investment no less than $10 million in estimated travel-related sales tax revenue realized during the 2008 calendar year as measured by recognized industry research methods.

    Restrictions and Mandatories

    It is critical to note that $3 million of the $7.3 million is earmarked by proviso language put in place by the Legislature when awarding VISIT FLORIDA the additional funds. The portion of the program using proviso funds must satisfy the mandatory requirements identified below:

    The program must be completed during the 2007-2008 fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2007 and ends June 30, 2008;

    The program must be considered “innovative,” defined as not having been implemented by VISIT FLORIDA in previous years’ marketing plans (e.g., broadcast network television);

    The program must exclusively support tourism marketing, including both advertising and marketing elements. Funds may not be allocated for infrastructure development or non-tourism categories, such as real estate development;

    The primary target of the program must be non-Florida residents;

    The program must be provided by one or more Florida-based companies;

    The program must cost at least $3,000,000, but should not exceed $3,050,000.

    Provision for Budget Reductions

    It is important to note that this Invitation to Negotiate is distributed during a tenuous period in the state’s funding environment. Recently, Governor Crist has called for a one-percent holdback per quarter. VISIT FLORIDA deems it prudent to anticipate even deeper cuts depending on the outcome of the Special Legislative Session this fall. As a result, all proposals should reflect flexibility to accommodate 4% and 10% (or more) holdbacks.

    Return on Investment/Measurement

    As a path to a demonstrated return on investment of $10 million, three primary marketing outcomes are consistent with the VISIT FLORIDA strategic plan and annual marketing plan: (1) increased traffic to the consumer web site as the primary fulfillment mechanism, (2) increased intent to vacation/visit, and ultimately (3) increased visitation to the Sunshine State.


    This review of proposals and subsequent negotiations to secure the necessary services to execute a final program targets completion by the week of October 15, 2007. Additional detail on the timeline is provided under the Process Timeline. Proposals submitted for consideration in this review process must be from Florida-based agencies (i.e., agencies maintaining an adequate and competent professional staff within the state of Florida) and address, to the greatest extent possible, each item listed in the Requirements section of this document.

    A written Notice of Intent to Submit must be received by August 22, 2007. The notice should be e-mailed as an attachment to Cliff Nilson, General Counsel, at cnilson@VISITFLORIDA.org. A return e-mail acknowledgment will be issued by VISIT FLORIDA, which will serve as confirmation of receipt. The Notice of Intent to Submit is non-binding; however, it ensures the receipt of all addenda and exhibits related to this review process. Proposals will be accepted only from applicants who submitted a timely Notice of Intent to Submit.

    All proposers wishing clarification of elements in this document must submit questions via e-mail to VISIT FLORIDA as prescribed under Review Process Timeline no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 31, 2007 Eastern Daylight Savings Time. All questions posed by firms submitting a “letter of intent to submit” will be tabulated with collective answers and sent back to all bidders.

    Costs for developing proposals are entirely the responsibility of the proposer and shall not be reimbursed by VISIT FLORIDA. All proposals received by VISIT FLORIDA in response to this process will be evaluated by a committee consisting of select VISIT FLORIDA senior management. A consensus decision will be reached by the committee and communicated to all proposers according to the prescribed timeline.

    The quality and value of successful proposal(s) will qualify authoring company(ies) to enter into negotiations with VISIT FLORIDA. The invitation to negotiate (ITN) does not guarantee the awarding of a contract, rather it allows both parties to engage in confidential negotiations toward a mutually beneficial relationship. VISIT FLORIDA reserves the right to negotiate with multiple agencies should contracting for individual service categories be desirable. In the event that negotiations fail to realize a binding contract, VISIT FLORIDA retains the right to re-open negotiations with other qualified proposers until a mutually beneficial relationship is secured.

    VISIT FLORIDA reserves the right to reject any and all proposals at its sole discretion. This ITN is an invitation to negotiate and is for discussion purposes only. It is neither an offer, contract nor agreement of any kind. VISIT FLORIDA reserves the right to negotiate concurrently or separately with competing offerors. VISIT FLORIDA reserves the right to waive minor irregularities in proposals and replies and clarifications.

    Additionally, as a private corporation and by specific statutory exemption, VIST FLORIDA, is not bound by the provisions of Chapter 287, Florida Statutes, relating to procurement.


    Submissions must demonstrate the proposed program’s alignment with the mandatory requirements identified below:

    1.     The total program cost may not exceed $7.3 million and should be allocated in such a way to create an integrated approach in alignment with the VISIT FLORIDA 2007-2008 marketing plan objectives and goals;

    2.     A minimum of $4.3 million of the funds should secure broadcast network television media;

    3.     The proposals must include a component that addresses the $3 million proviso language as discussed above;

    If the proposer intends to provide services through a joint venture or ventures, the nature of these ventures must be clearly set forth in the proposal. This would include identifying and describing the role of major subcontractors intended to be engaged in fulfillment of the proposal.

    As an addendum to all proposals, sponsoring companies must submit three-year audited financials demonstrating solid financial standing as evaluated by VISIT FLORIDA’s chief financial officer. The final contract is subject to standard and customary contractual conditions as required by VISIT FLORIDA.


    VISIT FLORIDA is a public/private partnership operating as a 501 (c6) private company and is responsible for the marketing of tourism to and within Florida. With the brand promise as the state’s trusted source for travel planning, VISIT FLORIDA leverages integrated marketing domestically and internationally.

    VISIT FLORIDA’s goals are to increase the economic impact of tourism to and through Florida by:

    1.     Increasing the number of visitors to and within Florida;

    2.     Increasing the average length of a stay;

    3.     Increasing repeat visitation;

    4.     Increasing the activity level of visitors once inside the state.

    However, directly measuring VISIT FLORIDA’s return on investment with regard to the four goals listed above is difficult. Therefore, in addition to the goals listed above, VISIT FLORIDA is seeking a marketing partner who can help achieve the following benchmarks in alignment with its strategic plan through the integrated program described in this document:

    1.     Increase the number of annual visitors who utilize VISIT FLORIDA as a planning resource;

    2.     Increase the percentage of the persons who recognize VISIT FLORIDA as “the trusted source for vacation or meeting planning”;

    3.     Increase the economic impact gain through marketing initiatives by VISIT FLORIDA and its industry Partners.

    Note that the word “partner” is used by VISIT FLORIDA in two principal ways. We prefer to use the word “partner” with a lower case “p”-rather than “vendor” to describe valued organizations with whom we do business. We capitalize the word “Partner” as the preferred way of referring to our membership base, now numbering more than 3,400.

    In working to achieve the goals above, VISIT FLORIDA represents the umbrella brand: the Florida vacation and meeting experience. We do this through “dedicated” marketing efforts that focus exclusively on our umbrella messaging which aims to create demand for the Florida experience.

    However, a considerable portion (approximately 55%) of our annual marketing budget is expended in two forms of cooperative marketing efforts that create opportunities for our Partners who buy-in to programs under the VISIT FLORIDA umbrella branding. Through traditional co-op programs, VISIT FLORIDA will buy down the cost of a marketing opportunity so that the Partners can buy into portions of the program. VISIT FLORIDA’s brand and call to action are present, but Partners messages are the dominant message featured. In “sanctioned” co-op programs, media outlets and marketing partners offer discounted rates to VISIT FLORIDA Partners in the absence of a direct buy-in from VISIT FLORIDA. In these cases, it is the access to the Partner base and the meaning of “sanctioned co-op” that creates value for the marketing partner. As in traditional co-op programs, VISIT FLORIDA’s brand and call to action are present, but Partners’ messages are also featured in sanctioned co-op programs.

    Process Timeline

    Proposals will be reviewed by an internal committee comprised of VISIT FLORIDA senior staff toward prioritizing a recommendation for review by its industry committee structure, which will subsequently forward its endorsement for action by Board of Directors on or about September 20, 2007.

    August 14, 2007:                  Invitation to Negotiate issued.

    August 22:                            Interested parties must express their intent to submit a proposal by 5:00 p.m. via e-mail to Cliff Nilson: cnilson@VISITFLORIDA.org.

    August 27 – August 31:     Questions may be submitted to Cliff Nilson via e-mail: cnilson@VISIT FLORIDA.org.

    September 5:                         Responses to all questions received by all parties will be shared with all parties who expressed intent. Answers will be distributed via e-mail by 5:00 p.m.

    September 21:                       Six (6) hard copies of proposals due at VISIT FLORIDA Tallahassee office by 5:00 p.m. E-mail and fax delivery will not be accepted. Send submissions to Cliff Nilson, General Counsel, VISIT FLORIDA, 2540 West Executive Center Circle, Suite 200, Tallahassee, FL 32301. Phone: (850)488-5607. Note: This is a new address effective August 31, 2007.

    Week of September 24:       Proposals reviewed by staff committee.

    Week of October 1:              Recommendation forwarded to Advertising & Internet Committee.

    Week of October 8:              Recommendation forwarded to Marketing Council Steering Committee (MCSC).

    Week of October 8:              Decision endorsed by Executive Committee of Board of Directors.

                                                    Final negotiations and contract development with ITN finalist.

    TBD:                                       Final announcement communicated to all ITN participants pending successful contract completion.

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