Beer taps at Black Tooth Brewing in Cheyenne, Wyoming
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Answers to Submitted Questions for the Public Relations RFP

  • What is the required format for submitting proposals – electronic or hard copy?

    • We will accept and prefer electronic proposals. The request for paper proposals was an oversight when refreshing the RFP for 2022.

  • In addition to raising awareness for tourism opportunities, corporate and residential markets, what are your other priority goals for the next three years?

    • This summer we completed a tourism master plan. This lays out the goals and objectives for the Cheyenne Tourism Industry and community. The full master plan can be viewed here. High priorities for Cheyenne right now include continued development of our downtown’s West Edge with a focus on tourists, creating a sustainable railroad experience for visitors and leveraging our position as the home of the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and celebration of Western Culture to attract tourists from other western states. At the same time we want to spread the message that Cheyenne is more than cowboys and country music. We have a great cultural scene as well.

  • Have you had any PR challenges in the past? If so, could you please provide additional info?

    • Our PR challenges have been minimal until CoVid. We’ve struggled to attract influencers and writers to our community over the past 24 months, leaving a wide variety of outdated stories about Cheyenne to be recycled and promoted.  One area that we continually struggle with is that being a proud red state in the current political climate can cause some to just dismiss us as a bunch of right wingers when there is so much more to the community. The lasting legacy of the Matthew Sheppard incident 20 years ago haunts us each time something horrible happens to the LGBTQ community. Last summer we were in the cross-hairs of LGBTQ activists when a local biker bar was selling offensive t-shirts. While this does not reflect the views of the community, it makes a lot of noise and we need to cut through that noise.

  • What are your biggest pain points as a destination?

    • I would say our biggest pain point is finding the right journalists/influencers who want to be in Cheyenne for the right reasons. I want Visit Cheyenne to be on the cutting edge of where we are being found and I feel like our PR strategy right now is about 8 years behind. I’d like to see our community represented in new places by new faces.

  • Are there any new markets you are looking to reach? Could you please additional information about your targets?

    • Our average visitor right now has a HS diploma with about 3 people in the household. They are about 42 years old and has a household income under $100k. We’d like to attract more visitors under 40 especially out of the front range of Colorado for our breweries, live music and arts scene. Important markets for us continue to be Denver, Dallas, Omaha, Salt Lake City and Kansas City. I’d like to see more information about us in the KC area.

  • In addition to social media, are you open to influencer activations?

    • We are open to ideas that cut through the clutter. One concern our team has is that the traditional travel writer isn’t being supported by their editors, or have face restrictions on the content they provide. We would be very interested in activating influencers on our behalf who could put Cheyenne in a new light to new audiences. We currently sponsor Brody Cress, the #3 saddle bronc rider in the world, who is a Cheyenne native. We’d be open to ideas to use his platforms better as well.

  • Do you have an established crisis communications framework?

  • Regarding other projects as needed mentioned in the RFP, would the project scope and fee be separate of the annual PR retainer or expected as part of the annual scope?

    • Any additional projects would be accounted over and above the agreed upon scope of services and annual budget.

  • Relating to the total public relations budget of $181,000, is that full amount dedicated to the agency expenses and PR out of pocket costs (travel, FAM, production) or does the staff salary include Visit Cheyenne staff? If it includes the Visit Cheyenne staff, can you share the total annual agency retainer? Alternatively,  ballpark number is helpful as well.

    • Visit Cheyenne operates on a fiscal year that begins July 1. For the 2022 fiscal year our PR/Film TOTAL budget is $181,650. Of this, approximately 20% is dedicated to paying part of the salary and benefits of a Visit Cheyenne Staff person to coordinate the public relations efforts. The remaining 75% is for promotional usage with some dedicated to photography, website maintenance and development and rest to the PR contract and its deliverables. Currently budgeted we have $60,000 for the agency retainer, $50,000 for production services and $10,000 for FAM tours and site visit expenses. Travel for Visit Cheyenne Staff and travel writers is also accounted for in the total $181,650.  Visit Cheyenne does have fiscal flexibility in all of these numbers to consider proposals that do not fix in these boxes, however.

  • Does the CVB pay for all experiences for media guests, or do your tourism partners sometimes comp experiences? In short, when looking at your budget, should we be thinking in terms of paying for hotel rooms, restaurant meals, etc., for visiting media?

    • Visit Cheyenne typically pays for all expenses and we have a line item in the budget for both travel and FAM Tour/Site visits that we use. We do rely on our partners to give us preferred rates and our attractions often will work with us for complimentary admission based upon potential exposure.

  • How many journalists do you host in a typical (read: non-COVID) year?

    • In a typical year we hosted 5 for our Cheyenne Frontier Days FAM Tour and an additional 4 to 5 on individual FAM's. In years past part of the strategy has included a 2nd outdoor themed FAM tour with influencers and travel writers.

  • How involved do you see yourself being in press trips? Do you anticipate helping with the planning and hosting, or do you leave that entirely to your agency partner?

    • We tend to leave that up to the individual travel writer as to how much time they’d like to spend with us. We always like to at least eat a meal and have a drink with them to lay out our narrative. Visit Cheyenne employs an Experiences Manager whose job it is to heighten the experiences in our community. They are often involved in crafting the experience for the writer. In short we can let them explore on their own unassisted or we can put together an entire itinerary for them. When we craft the itinerary we do it in coordination with our agency who we are relying on to have the strong relationship with the press to guide us in what would be the best experience.

  • Does Visit Cheyenne belong to any PR or travel media organizations? If so, which ones and have you seen a benefit to membership?

    • Visit Cheyenne currently does not belong to any PR or travel media organizations.

  • How’s your image (photo and video) library? If that needs to be improved or expanded, would that come out of the PR budget, the marketing budget, or a combo of the two?

    • We always keep a line item in the budget for photography to keep it fresh. We have a very good photo library at this time. Responses to this RFP should not need to consider that as a cost to account for.

  • What are the overall goals for tourism in 2022? How do you see PR contributing to those goals?

    • A big goal for Cheyenne in 2022 is to increase our presence in the Dallas / Fort Worth market. It is our #4 market in visitation to our community and its residents have an affinity for Western Culture while also appreciating our live music and culture scene. We view the entire state of Texas as an opportunity for growth as a market.

  • How has Cheyenne been impacted by the pandemic?

    • Cheyenne came through the pandemic in very good shape. We were only down 25% in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2021 YTD we are ahead of 2019 in terms of RevPAR. 2019 was a record year for Cheyenne in terms of visitation and spend. One thing that we saw in 2020 is that the Denver DMA visited our community at levels they never had before. We'd like to capitalize on the 4.6 million people who live in that DMA and continue to introduce them to the fact that Cheyenne is only 90 minutes away on average for most of the people who live there.

  • Who is your ideal visitor? Families, Boomers, Millennials etc.?

    • Our average visitors are about 40 years old, more couples travel than family travel. Average household income sits around 100k a year. When we think of people who travel for western culture we see an older demographic, we appeal to a younger demographic with our community art, live music and breweries. We do have several family attractions, but it they are not our strength.

  • What are the high and low periods for visitation throughout the year – how much is centered around July and Frontier Days?

    • June through September are our busiest months in Cheyenne. May and October are solid with room for growth. Our slow season is November to March. We try to book meetings and conferences in those off months to help maintain occupancy. The Wyoming Legislature meets every January/February for its annual session. Even years is a four week session, odd years feature a 6 week session.

  • Tell us a little more about the group FAMs you have hosted in the past- how many people typically attend? Does it include travel trade or strictly media? How frequent were your one-off/individual FAMs?

    • In most years we have hosted a Cheyenne Frontier Days FAM tour featuring 4 to 5 journalists/influencers. They arrive on Wednesday, spend two days exploring outdoor adventure, our museums, restaurants, breweries and other highlights of Cheyenne available year round. On Saturday they attend Cheyenne Frontier Days starting with the parade, then the rodeo and the rodeo grounds. We usually do not include the night show entertainment in our FAM, but we are now open to that. They then depart on Sunday morning. Some years we have hosted an additional 3 to 4 person FAM which has focused on outdoor recreation.

  • Have you included other types of PR activations in previous plans? For example: activations in feeder markets, desksides, media receptions or other tactics.

    • Yes, we have done desksides in Denver and New York City. We have hosted media receptions in Denver and are hosting a virtual activation this December.

  • Are there any anniversaries, commemorations or new developments coming up in the next 12-24 months?

    • Nothing huge and important as far as anniversaries go. We are in the beginning stages of redeveloping 15th street in to a railroad visitor experience and that will be happening over the course of the 3 year contract. The redevelopment of the Hitching Post property into a mixed use hotel/restaurant/living development is something we are incredibly excited about.

  • Of your past PR efforts, what worked well? What didn’t? And why?

    • When we can tell the story of Cheyenne we get the best coverage. We have amazing people with cool backstories and they are doing amazing things in the community. We have admittedly struggled with the virtual nature of PR right now as we want to immerse people in our community. The "Best _____ in your state" articles don't work well for us as Wyoming is literally the last state that people have to scroll to.

  • How active is the Wyoming office of Tourism? Do they have an active PR program? FAMs, proactive outreach, themed pitches, media events etc. – How does Cheyenne participate in those? Do we need budget reserved for these opportunities?

    • The Wyoming Office of Tourism has a robust PR program and we work often with them to coordinate efforts, especially in regard to writers they are bringing through our community.

  • What would a successful PR program look like – if we were meeting on Jan 1, 2023.

    • Year one measurements are more along the lines of planning, development and your growth of knowledge of Cheyenne. Of course we want placements and we want to be building relationships with the travel press, but we understand that if we chose to go with a new agency 2022 will be a year for growth.

  • How do you measure?

    • We measure on a couple of different level from earned media dollars to placement in important publications to how are we growing the knowledge of Cheyenne to both the travel press and western beat writers.

  • Do you have a current agency? How important is it that the agency be located in Wyoming or Colorado?

    • Yes we are concluding the 2nd of two three-year contracts with our current agency. Geographic location of the agency is not a concern, however we will be evaluating the relationships they have with western regional travel press and western beat writers.

  • What is most important to you in an agency-client relationship?

    • It is important that we have a good relationship with the agency. It will be a part of our team for the next 3 years and we really want them to be invested in our success.

  • Is this a legitimate RFP or are you just going through the motions?

    • Visit Cheyenne's fiscal policy requires this contract to go out to RFP. This is an objective process where we are looking for the best fit for Cheyenne. No decisions have been made before this RFP has been issued.

  • What does your target media look like?

    • We tend to focus on regional opportunities in the markets that are drive related for Cheyenne. This would align with our current marketing efforts. Being at the intersection of I-25 and I-80 we are a popular drive destination, and often times a stop on traveler's larger National Parks trip. Relevant national publications are of course always appreciated, but we need to work on raising awareness in our core markets as well.

  • Would you be open to hosting more than 9 or 10 media members or are their budget limitations?

    • We would be very open to hosting more media members. It is not a fiscal budget restriction, rather a people resource budget restriction. The less hand holding a media member needs, the more we can hosT.

  • What cities do you consider COIs?

    • I’m not clear on what COI is standing for….If it is Conflict of Interest I would say Casper, Laramie, Fort Collings, Colorado Springs. We are not overly concerned about conflict as the winning PR firm is going to have a proposal that is unique to Cheyenne.

  • Can you please share the names of the spokespeople for 2022?  

    • Jim Walter, Vice President is the main spokesperson for everything except crisis communication. For Crisis, Domenic Bravo is the chief spokesperson.

  • Besides Brody Cress, do you have any additional partnerships in place? Are you open to brand partnerships? Can you share what brand partnerships have worked for the team in the past?

    • We are a Copper Boot Sponsor of Cheyenne Frontier Days along with our title sponsorship of Brody Cress. We do not have any other partnerships but we are very open to those opportunities.

  • Are you interested in any broadcast integrations? Would there be any additional funds to support that tactic? 

    • We did a broadcast integration with the Cowboy Channel in 2021. It included paid commercials on broadcast and streaming. We leveraged that for some coverage of Brody being from Cheyenne, and a great interview on the Tailgate show before the rodeo on Thursday.

  • Other than Wyoming Office of Tourism, do you work actively with local partners or are you interested in the agency fostering those relationship on your behalf?

    • Yes we work with our local partners and with other regional tourism entities such as Laramie and Carbon County. This would not be a big focus for our chosen firm.

  • What are your top 3 talking points you would like to make sure are included in every article about Cheyenne?

    • Each pitch is unique, but if we can make sure that people know that we are 90 minutes north of Denver, we are the state capitol of Wyoming and we have an authentic western flair with modern amenities, that would cover the 2 floor elevator speech.

  • Does Visit Cheyenne currently have a social team? Will they be implementing the suggestions of the new agency?

    • Visit Cheyenne does have a social team and yes they would be implementing any social parts of the program that are developed.

  • You shared details about a desire to focus on local and regional media, but can you share the percentage breakdown of media coverage you prefer to be local vs. regional vs. national press? 30/60/10? 

    • We would look to the proposals to determine how best that mix would work for us. On the surface, 20 percent Wyoming, 50 percent regionally and in our core markets and 30 percent national seems to be a logical mix.

  • What trade events do you currently participate in? Will you need any PR support for those as well?

    • We participate in NTA, ABA, MIC, RMI’s Round-UP and other convention shows that we determine on a case by case basis. We do not envision our PR firm having a role in these.

  • Are there any new flight routes launching in 2021/2022?

    • Maybe? We are working on a Las Vegas option, but we also anticipate runway construction to enter phase two next summer which may delay any new routes until q4.

 

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