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Aug 16

The First Step Toward Unified Tourism Promotion of the Stanwood-Camano Island Area

After a request for proposals (RFP) was released in May, Stanwood City Council decided on Thursday to hire the Stanwood Chamber of Commerce for tourism promotion and marketing for the rest of this year and the first half of next year.

The current contract with Ellen Hiatt, Hiatt Consulting LLC, expired on June 1 and was extended through the summer to Aug. 31, according to council documents.

Hiatt Consulting guided the city through the design of the Discover Port Susan brand, which was launched in May 2015. Hiatt was one of two applicants for the new $36,000 contract.

City staff distributed the RFP to marketing consultants on its small works roster and to local marketing professionals, including Madak Creative LLC, said Deborah Knight, at her last meeting as city administrator.

The two proposals were reviewed by the city’s community development director, with a committee of elected officials and community members.

The chamber’s proposal stood out, said Councilmember Elizabeth Callaghan.

“It’s a great proposal,” she said during the council meeting.

The contract includes an extensive list of tasks: Not only producing and managing events, but also marketing them, along with many events around Port Susan, along with managing the website, social media, advertising in publications and even market research.

The work plan includes recruiting sponsorships to help cover the cost of events, and hosting travel tour operators and travel writers at “fam” tours to familiarize them with the area.

The proposed strategy includes updating the website to include much more than tourism information.

Councilman Rob Johnson was also impressed by the comprehensive proposal.

“I think it will eliminate the rough edges of overlapping events and gaps of coverage,” Johnson said.

The nine-page proposal from the chamber was signed by Renae Kettler, chamber president; Adam Kopp, vice president; and Asia Gray, executive director of both Stanwood and Camano Island chambers.

Kopp is from Madak Creative, which is identified as a subcontractor in the contract, to help manage the website, social media, branding, advertising and tracking results.

Of the $36,000 proposed budget, $30,000 is designated for Madak.

Mayor Leonard Kelley also was pleased with the proposal.

“We are lucky to have a chamber willing to take this on,” Kelley said.

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