Friday, Oct 2–New Bids Eyed For Tourism Guide

OCEAN CITY— The City Council might have been unhappy with the quality, but it appears they wanted a bit more quantity as well.

The old adage, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” took literal meaning this week as the council voted to re-bid the task of designing the town’s Sea For Yourself Guide by way of a new Request For Proposal (RFP) after the bids received failed to impress.

Tourism Director Deb Travers queried council for permission to basically have a do-over for the bidding process in order to get more companies involved with the $15,000 design job.

“We would like a more robust selection,” said Travers. “We usually get six to 10 bids for this project, and we only got four this year.”

Travers explained two of the bids were late, striking them from contention, and another company’s quote was well over the budget allotted by the town, leaving only one company left.

“I think in re-bidding this, it will cast a much bigger net,” she said.

The council agreed with Travers, but said little else concerning the matter, with the exception of a few queries on whether this re-bid process would delay release dates.

The Sea For Yourself and the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce Guide were merged into one publication last spring as part of the city’s cost cutting measures, which will essentially save the business community from having to advertise in two publications, cut town costs by $95,000 by partnering with the chamber and will create a single source message for the town of Ocean City as far as guides go.

In April, the merger of the two visitor’s guides may not have been the biggest story of the spring, but it was a culmination of several years of talks between the town and the chamber to merge the two publications.

Last year, the town’s Sea For Yourself Guide shrunk from 144-88 pages as part of the cost cuts instilled by the town and had a bit of a redesign as well as far as design goes, according to Travers.

The chamber will be handling the printing of the books, as well as selling the advertising and also the distribution, while the town will handle the design, content and essentially all other “creative” control.

“I think that we may need to tweak the proposal a bit too, because at this point, we aren’t sure how many pages the guide is going to be, because we don’t know how much advertising the chamber has sold,” said Travers. “We don’t want to make it too specific that we scare any design firms away from this job.”