By Chad Ingram
Published May 17 2016
Haliburton County will stick with the map-like explore guide it produced this year versus the traditional Destination Guide it produced previously as its main tourism publication for 2017.
Members of the county’s tourism committee discussed the creation of next year’s guide during a May 12 meeting.
For a number of years the county printed its Destination Guide a booklet filled with editorial content about the area and events along with maps and advertisements for local businesses.
For 2016 the county switched to a fold-out map format titled Explore #MyHaliburtonHighlands. A map of the municipality shows its four townships and the locations of various businesses and attractions and is surrounded by ads for local businesses. It also features an events listing.
During their meeting Wednesday committee members discussed whether to return to the thicker guide or stick with the map concept.
A majority of members of the Haliburton Highlands tourism stakeholders group seem to prefer the former.
Minutes from an April 20 meeting of the group show that in a vote 25 members said they’d prefer to return to 2015 format versus eight who said they liked the 2016 format.
Five were undecided.
“I personally feel like there has not been negative feedback from consumers about this product” Virtanen told members of the committee who voted to stick with the map-like product.
The map is cheaper for the county to produce; about $30000 versus the $48000 it cost to produce the Destination Guide.
Parker Pad and Printing has produced the county’s tourism promotion materials for the past three years but the 2017 project will be up for bidding and a request for proposals (RFP) will be issued later this month.
“For the past three years the Destination Guide/#MyHaliburtonHighlands publication has been developed by the tourism department in concert with Parker Pad and Printing and produced by same” read a report from Virtanen. “Parker Pad and Printing was also responsible for the solicitation of advertisers and responsible for collecting ad insertion orders which then went to the county’s accounting department to invoice each advertiser. As per the contract with Parker Pad and Printing 2017 is the year that the county is required to issue a new RFP for this project.”
The RFP is scheduled to go out on May 26 with the window closing June 7.
While some committee members felt this period was too short others stressed that in order for the new guide to be available at the beginning of 2017 the process needed to be quick.
A suggested timeline for the 2017 publication has the winning vendor being notified by the end of June a design direction conversation taking place at a September committee meeting and the product going to press in December for January distribution.