New Orleans Reviews Tourism Business

Looking to increase visitor spending, create long-term strategy

The media spending behind New Orleans’ tourism marketing efforts is relatively small—just under $10 million this year—but big shops have expressed interest in the account, which is now in review.

“We have received local, regional and national [agency] inquiries,” said Mark Romig, president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.

The incumbent is local. Peter Mayer Advertising in New Orleans has been the lead agency on New Orleans tourism marketing since early 2001 and plans to defend.

In an industry where long-term relationships are increasingly rare, New Orleans Tourism Marketing has had just two lead shops in 25 years. The agency that Mayer succeeded, Montgomery Stire Partners, handled the business for 14 years.

Beyond traditional and online creative efforts, the assignment includes media planning and buying and providing support for promotions, public relations and brand partnerships.

Agency responses to the tourism group’s request for proposals are due May 1. Based on submissions and some follow-up meetings and conversations, the organization will select up to three finalists. Final presentations to the 14-person board of the New Orleans TMC are slated for June 19.

The new contract will begin Aug. 1 and run for maybe three years, with an option for renewal, according to Romig. The board has yet to finalize the terms, however.

That said, in keeping with the advice in Boston Consulting Group’s hospitality master plan for New Orleans, the city needs a long-term approach to marketing, Romig said. “It’s important to create consistency,” he added.

The city also has aggressive tourism goals. In 2018, New Orleans hopes to attract some 13.7 million visitors and realize a total visitor spend of $7 billion. Last year’s totals were 8.75 million and $5.47 billion, respectively.

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