Big Chill for Hot Springs, Combs

By Steve Krajewski

DALLAS–A client conflict with six-year incumbent Combs & Co. has thrown the $1.6 million Hot Springs, Ark., tourism advertising account into review.

Don Raulie, executive director of the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission, confirmed the search. He said 70 requests for proposals have been issued, with responses due back July 11.

Raulie said he and Combs agreed to part after the Little Rock, Ark., agency was awarded an advertising account from the convention and visitors bureau in Tunica, Miss.

‘Tunica is a major competitor of ours and we were concerned that we would no longer be getting the best of what Combs had to offer,’ Raulie said. ‘I have serious doubts about whether an agency can cover two competing accounts.’

Shortly after requests for proposals are returned, the list will be reduced to six or fewer contenders. Those shops will be asked to make presentations in mid-August. The new agency is expected to be on board later that month.

The Hot Springs advertising contract runs for one year and can be renewed indefinitely. Raulie said the winning agency is subject to an annual evaluation.

The Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission has relied on a variety of media in the past to lure both the leisure and business traveler segments.

Television and print have been used to target leisure travelers, while trade show activities and advertising in vertical trade publications have been the prime means of securing convention business.

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