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County seeks publisher for 2019 visitor’s guide

December 28, 2018 03:49 pm

Visitor’s guides and other promotional materials help the Twin Counties’ tourism-driven economies, officials said.

Columbia County is requesting proposals for a new 2019 visitor’s guide — the county Tourism Department’s most sought publication.

The Tourism Department put out a request for proposals Dec. 22 to publish its 2019 Visitors and Dining Guide, which will feature a new design and new businesses.

About 55,000 guides were taken or downloaded in 2018, Columbia County Tourism Department Administrator Ann Cooper said. The guide can be downloaded from the department’s website, columbiacountytourism.org.

“A lot of people download the guide from the website,” Cooper said. “It is an important piece.”

The department is looking for a publisher to create, print and deliver the guide as well as market advertising space that will help support the cost of the project, according to the request for proposal.

The county and publishing company will split revenue from sold advertisements. The state requires the county to have a half-page advertisement at no cost for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tourism initiative I Love NY.

The county and publisher will work together to design the guide. The county will provide the publisher with all the content for the publication, including lists of businesses and photographs.

“The guide will have an updated listing of businesses, but it is hard to keep up,” Cooper said. “We started this process in early November and since then, restaurants have opened and others have closed.”

Columbia County is looking to use a previous design for the guide with one cover and a map that folds out of the back. The county tried something new in 2018 with two different covers and a map that folds out of the middle of the publication, but found local businesses were not as happy with the design, Cooper said, adding a tourism industry council provides the department feedback.

“The tourism industry wanted to see us go back to the old design,” Cooper said. “It just makes sense.”

Proposals are due at Columbia County Central Services, 401 State St., Hudson, by 2 p.m. Jan. 11. Prospective publishing companies should provide the tourism department with information relating to experience, provide samples of similar projects, a current client list and proposal regarding royalties.

The county set a deadline for delivery of the requested 50,000 to 70,000 guides for April 10, 2019.

The department also offers guides about the county’s artisanal beverage-makers and road and mountain biking maps, which are available for download on the tourism website.

Greene County recently renewed a contract with Adworkshop — an advertising agency in Lake Placid — to help its tourism department with its website and other promotions, including its travel guide.

Since the county started contracting with Adworkshop the Greene County Tourism Department website has seen significant increase in traffic to the department’s website, Greene County Tourism Marketing Manager Heather Bagshaw said. Greene County’s travel guide is available for download off of the department’s website.

“Our web traffic has increased 21.99 percent,” Bagshaw said. “We have a 17.19 percent increase in users and 16.44 percent increase in page views.”