Loudoun Economic Development Issues Marketing and Event Management RFP In Support Of Transportation Pilot

By February 2, 2024February 5th, 2024Featured, Blog, News Flash, General Economic Development News

Request for Information: Loudoun County Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour

BACKGROUND: Loudoun County, in partnership with Visit Loudoun, is promoting a transportation pilot to take visitors from Metro and transportation hubs to towns and commerce centers for guided experiences within the county. According to a recent study commissioned by Visit Loudoun as a part of their strategic planning process, 31% of visitors cited transportation challenges as a barrier to visiting Loudoun. Examples shared identified inconsistent rideshare, lack of public transportation as well as a lack of direct cross-county options as the most common challenges. When coupled with an additional 20% stating that the distance between attractions constituted a barrier, a large contingent of visitors have expressed concerns of getting from areas of public transportation (i.e., Metro) to attractions.

The first phase of the transportation pilot occurred the weekend of October 21st and 22nd as part of the 30th anniversary of Loudoun’s Fall Farm Tour. Two 28-passenger buses ran a dedicated route along Route 9 and Harpers Ferry Road in Western Loudoun, making 5 stops along the way. More than 60 people utilized the service to experience “life on the farm” without the hassles of navigating traffic. For those who took the bus service in Hillsboro:

  • 100% of respondents said that given their experience they were very likely or likely to use a similar service in the future if offered.
  • 60% of respondents said they’d be interested in a shuttle that included Ashburn Metro station.
  • Almost 70% of respondents said the primary motivation for using the service was the convenience of using alternative transportation.
  • Survey respondents also added:
    • “Our toddler had a lot of fun and so did we. Staff is nice and friendly. Please do it again! Thank you very much :)”
    • “Amazing service and very helpful staff. So proud that the county is doing this.”
    • “Tour guide we had was so nice and knowledgeable about the places we were visiting. It was a fun time and very convenient!”

PHASE 2: Given the success of Phase 1, the next phase will offer two additional weekends of shuttle services to coincide with significant events and offer a hub and spoke model for moving visitors across Western Loudoun. Transportation will include routes to and from the Ashburn Metro station, an increased number of buses, and a more curated experience both on the buses and at individual stops.

Locations chosen as hubs will be pick-up and drop-off spots with adequate parking and in centralized locations like the Towns or County facilities. Smaller buses will then provide dedicated routes to pre-determined businesses or secondary event sites. The program will again emphasize the customer experience with bus giveaways and encourage riders to take a survey that will gather data on the riders and the success of the program. Hubs and spokes will be chosen from a combination of steps, but with the final decision being made based on the safety and efficiency of the overall program and its participants.

DATES:

  1. APRIL 20 and 21: Historic Garden Week
  2. MAY 18 and 19: Spring Farm Tour

 

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL: Loudoun Economic Development is seeking proposals to manage Marketing and Event Support for Phase 2 of the shuttle service pilot program. Download the full RFP here.

RFP Submission Deadline: Sunday, February 11

Project Date: Monday, February 26 – Friday, May 24, 2024

Actual Event Dates: April 20 – 21 for Historic Garden Week; May 18 – 19 for Spring Farm Tour

Marketing Support: The chosen vendor will develop, implement, and manage a full multimedia marketing campaign that may include any and all aspects of owned social media, paid digital media, paid traditional media, and earned media to promote the shuttle service for each event. All deployments must be approved by both DED and VL but the chosen vendor will have both organization’s full support for message creation and access to necessary information and resources. At the end of each event weekend, a full metrics report will be provided on marketing activities prior to and during the event.

Event Support: The chosen vendor will determine run of show and potential needs of participants for each event weekend. Vendor will provide all design, production, assembly, and distribution of deliverables, including but not limited to, printed guides, swag bags/giveaways, and information pieces. The vendor will also be responsible for planning and executing staffing for each event’s bus portion, potentially including on-bus guides or on-location staff at drop-off/pick-up points. DED will provide all staff with branded shirts for the weekend. Photography and videography services during the event hours should be considered to capture content to promote subsequent events.

Budget: This project is made possible by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)[i] funds and must be in compliance with all rules therein as well as all procurement rules of Loudoun County. The total budget for this full project, including planning, implementation, and reporting for both event weekends, cannot exceed $85,000 all inclusive.

Other: Please include in all responses any terms, conditions, or standard contracts/agreements that are required for your services.

Submission: Email proposals to loudounbiz@loudoun.gov no later than Sunday, February 11, 2024. Questions may be emailed to loudounbiz@loudoun.gov through COB Thursday, February 8, 2024. Please respond to this email detailing your plan for meeting the marketing and event support described above, the outcomes you anticipate, information regarding the team who would support the project, any other support services you would recommend, a timeline for execution, and a detailed budget of how you would use the funds. If you are interested Iin this project, your response must also include a current, signed W9 so that your company can be processed as an approved vendor of Loudoun County. This project must be paid using a purchase order issued through Loudoun County.

[i] The chosen vendor will be receiving payment from the County of Loudoun of revenues from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Program (SLFRF) established under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) pursuant to sections 602 and 603 of the Social Security Act, as added by Section 9901, Public Law 117-2, codified at 42 U.S.C. 802 et. Seq. (March 11, 2021).

The third party’s use of funds received as direct payment from the County pursuant to sections 602(c)(1) and 603(c)(1) of the Social Security Act will be used only to cover those costs that:

  • Respond to its negative economic impacts, and;
  • Have been approved by County Staff.

Funds received as a direct payment from the County pursuant to this agreement must adhere to official federal guidance issued or to be issued regarding what constitutes a necessary expenditure.

As a condition of receiving the SLFRF funds pursuant to this contract/certification, the chosen vendor shall retain documentation of all uses of the funds, including but not limited to payroll records, invoices, and/or sales receipts and must report on all uses of funds, and must maintain proper accounting records.