Texas Tourism Prelim

Initial Bidders Meeting for $12 Mil. Account
DALLAS–The Texas Department of Economic Development this week is holding a prebid conference in Austin for agencies interested in pitching the $12 million state tourism advertising account.
Agencies listed with the state’s general services commission received invitations for bids last week. The document outlined de-tails of the revised contract and a time table for the review.
In April, the department said it had opted not to exercise two one-year contract extensions with the incumbent, GSD&M of Austin, Texas [Adweek, April 20], because of unspecified changes in the original agreement.
Agencies that opt to proceed after this week’s meeting must return a questionnaire by July 15. The document asks for billing and client data, as well as case studies. The form also outlines the client’s plans to develop “value-added” programs that would generate revenue as well as increase inquiries for travel information.
GSD&M is defending the state tourism account. Among the agencies that received the initial solicitation are DDB Needham, The Richards Group and McCann-Erickson, all located in Dallas.
The winning agency must have a presence in Austin to service the account. That shop also must have at least three full-time account service employees working on the business, one recipient said David Teel, deputy director of the state’s tourism division, could not be reached to comment at press time.
A committee will select three finalists based on responses to the questionnaire. Agency presentations are slated for mid-August. The winning shop will begin work on the account Sept. 1. The contract runs for two years, with three one-year renewal options.