Request for Proposal: Media Buying Agency

Primary image for Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Executive Summary
The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (the non-profit marketing arm of Los Angeles) is seeking a well-qualified media buying agency to provide comprehensive media planning and buying services to promote Los Angeles as a destination globally.
With 50 million visitors spending more than $26 billion in Los Angeles annually, the tourism and hospitality sector is one of LA’s most lucrative industries. LA Tourism’s advertising campaigns generate an incremental $2+ billion in direct tourism spending annually for Los Angeles, with significant Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). 

The tourism board seeks to partner with a media buying agency that understands the global media landscape, demonstrates strategic thinking, develops efficient media plans, has a competitive commission structure, maintains a best-in-class account management team, and is proficient with budget administration to be compliant with funding that is tied to government grants.

LA Tourism will be awarding the business on May 31, 2023 with the intent to begin advertising on August 21, 2023.


About Los Angeles Tourism
The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board is a non-profit 501c(6) organization responsible for promoting Los Angeles as one of the world’s premier travel destinations. Our purpose is to inspire visitors to immerse themselves in the kinds of unscripted moments and meaningful experiences that can only happen in LA. 

Los Angeles inspires the spirit of possibility. Unlike other destinations, LA is a place of personal freedom. It’s a mindset. A lifestyle. A diverse and forward-thinking community defined by its people. The ethos of LA allows visitors to express their free-spirited self. 

Our organization works proudly on behalf of more than 1,000 member businesses from the area’s hospitality community. We are responsible for sales and marketing efforts focused on global leisure travelers, the meetings & convention industry, travel trade and media.


The Situation

Reaching consumers has never been more nuanced. Consumer media consumption habits of traditional, digital, and social media are ever-changing in the global media landscape. Destination brands are challenged to develop custom strategies for every channel and platform by market. 

Media consumption becomes more fragmented daily. Time on mobile has increased from under a minute a day in 2008 to over four hours a day in 2022, and mobile fights with other mediums and screens for attention. From the increase of streaming platform offerings and always-growing social options to linear TV’s loss of relevance, it is more important than ever to build reach and frequency, while consolidating to create efficiencies. 

More than ever, data-driven strategies are needed to provide efficient marketing plans within this complex media environment. Media planning needs to account for how media consumption varies across generations, markets, and multicultural segments.

While domestic visitation to Los Angeles accounts for the majority of visitation, international visitation accounts for a significant portion of direct spending.

Travel seasonality, planning periods, booking windows and hotel need periods all play a factor in LA Tourism’s media buying and planning decisions. Key global market prioritization is based on certain criteria, including overall visitation by market, direct spending, length of stay, air service, hotel demand, visa accessibility, exchange rates, public health, and consumer sentiment. 

LA Tourism has seen value in national advertising through economies of scale (budget dependent), while also being efficient with spot market advertising. 

Key domestic markets based on visitation incrementality of ad aware audiences have included NYC, Chicago, DC, Boston, Atlanta and Seattle.

Key international markets include Mexico, Canada, Australia and the UK. LA Tourism is also evaluating additional investment in markets such as South Korea, China, France, Germany and India.


The Goal

Partner with a media buying and planning agency that will increase interest and visitation to the destination, as measured by survey data that evaluates campaign awareness and trip incrementality attributed specifically to advertising. 

Award the business to an agency that has a proven track record of advertising in LA Tourism’s top global markets and presents solutions that efficiently and creatively reach core audiences. The agency must illustrate innovative thinking that uniquely positions Los Angeles as a future forward destination.


The Audience

LA Tourism’s audience is comprised of Millennials and Gen X travelers in a select set of major cities globally who have the financial means to travel and stay in hotels. They may be years apart, but these individuals hold similar values. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Gen X has the greatest mean disposable household income across generations (25% higher than millennials and 65% higher than Gen Z).

While a relatively niche segment of California travelers, there are also opportunities with high net-worth luxury travelers. Additionally, inclusivity is one of LA Tourism’s core brand values. Black, Hispanic and LGBTQ+ travelers show a high affinity for the Los Angeles brand. Collectively, this audience spends $500 billion annually on travel.

DEI is a core focus of Los Angeles Tourism and inclusive advertising buys are mandatory.

Despite elevated financial concerns, consumer sentiment around future travel remains highly positive. Excitement levels for travel reached peak heights in 2022. 80% of U.S. travel consumers said they were “excited” to travel in the next 12 months, a metric correlated to hotel bookings. According to the new Travelers Value Index 2023 study, 46% of consumers said travel is more important to them now compared to pre-pandemic. 

Travelers are expected to focus on trips that create deeper connections with family, friends, colleagues, customers, cultures, and the planet. Nearly half of consumers want to be immersed in local culture and products while travelling, and another 40% want personalized access to unique experiences or activities, such as performances, events, classes, etc.


The Project

The selected media buying agency will be responsible for gathering and presenting relevant insights for LA Tourism’s key markets, planning two flights of media per fiscal year, optimizing each campaign throughout the flights, and reporting on the results of the campaigns at the conclusion of each flight. 

LA Tourism’s fiscal year is July 1 to June 30. LA Tourism purchases media in the Fall and Spring to drive hotel room demand during need periods. There is typically a higher investment of funds in the Spring to match consumer demand.

The media buy is comprised of domestic and international advertising. Advertising that reaches a national audience will be a key consideration for the Spring flight. All plans in each market must deliver a 3+ effective reach to our target audience.


Conduct an efficient, comprehensive discovery process with LA Tourism
to inform the paid media strategy and planning. Discovery process should include:

•    Review of goals, objectives, audience segments, and other foundational elements
•    Review of previous campaign performance and other relevant data
•    Discussions with creative and research partners to understand their needs and how best to collaborate with them 

Media strategy

Develop and present strategies for integrated, full-funnel media campaigns to include:

•    1st party data analysis for channel, platform, and partner considerations
•    Recommended targeting to address LA Tourism’s audience segments
•    Recommended KPIs to measure media performance
•    Recommended channels and corresponding budgets
•    Any considerations for campaign creative and landing page(s)

Media planning

Develop and present media plans to include:

•    Recommended media partners and rationale for why these partners were selected
•    Anticipated performance/impact of each partner
•    Recommended spends by media partner
•    Creative and innovative plans that evaluate non-traditional global media partners on an ongoing basis (as long as those vendors have a proven track record with major brands)
•    Creative asset requirements by media partner and an understanding of specs in detail to ensure clear communication with the creative team and media partners
•    Comprehensive flowchart

Media Buying and Management

Manage all communication and transactions, including IOs and payments, with media partners. Agency is expected to negotiate competitive rates/terms and added value.

Campaign set-up and launch

Manage all necessary media set-up, including tagging, pixel tracking, and creative QA.

Campaign Optimization and Reporting

Throughout the campaigns, the agency will provide continuous management, optimization, and reporting. Reporting should not be a data dump. We expect thoughtful reporting focused on insights, lessons learned, and ROI. The media agency will need to help us tell the story of how our marketing is moving the needle for Los Angeles.

Support of LA Tourism Partners

Additional scope may include media planning and management for LA Tourism marketing partners. These partners will have distinct goals, campaigns, and budgets.


Work collaboratively with the creative and research teams and third parties on all campaign work.



LA Tourism’s Comeback campaign in 2021 generated $2+ billion in direct tourism spending. The campaign yielded a $349 to $1 Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). The same creative and messaging was consistently used throughout the FY in various campaigns, as key international markets continued to recover.

As tourism fully recovered, the messaging evolved and a new campaign was introduced in 2022. Los Angeles was beginning to roll out the red carpet to some of the biggest events in the world (from the Super Bowl to the World Cup to the Olympics in 2028). It became an opportunity for LA to make an indelible impression on the world stage, and for visitors to experience a destination unlike any other.

We crafted a campaign tagline and manifesto that is as much an invitation as a call to action. 
An invitation to center stage where everyone is welcome, and anything is possible.

Global phenoms that start in a garage.
Culinary empires that begin with a food truck.
From music to sports to fashion and food – LA is on the vanguard of practically everything.
In pop-up galleries, busy kitchens and eclectic neighborhoods, the next generation of dreamers are emerging. 
To find them, just let your curiosity guide you.
Go a few exits past your comfort zone, and be ready to lose yourself in the sights, sounds and tastes that provide inspiration to so many.
The next, “next big thing” is waiting for you.
You just have to know where to look.
Los Angeles. Now Playing.

The new ad campaign spotlights LA’s breadth of attractions, experiences, and accommodations. Featuring top talent that gives the campaign an added touch of Hollywood magic.  Media platforms includes Linear TV, CTV, OOH, Digital, Social and Native ads in key global markets including U.S., Mexico, Canada, Australia, and the UK. 

We intend to use the same creative in Fall 2023 and potentially develop new executions for Spring 2024.


Overall, LA Tourism intends to invest approximately $23 million in advertising in key global markets over the course of the fiscal year (inclusive of management/commission fees). LA Tourism’s fiscal year is July 1 to June 30. 
•    Fall ’23 (Domestic) - $6 million
•    Fall ’23 (International) - $1.1 million
•    Spring ’24 (Domestic) - $12 million
•    Spring ’24 (International) - $3.6 million

Funding is not guaranteed and is tied to a few different sources. The funding sources each maintain a certain set of restrictions and parameters that must be considered when it comes to budget administration and accounting.

The Fall ’23 advertising flight is funded through a grant provided by Visit California through an award under Federal Grant Award 07-79-07802 by the Economic Development Administration under §703 and 209 of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965, as amended, 42 U.S.C.  §§ 3149 and 3233. As a result, all vendors awarded contracts must be willing to abide by all required provisions of federal laws and regulations, including without limitation 2 CFR §§200.326 and 200.327.

In accordance with 2 CFR 170.200 (Federal awarding agency reporting requirements), Federal awarding agencies are required to publicly report Federal awards that equal or exceed the micro-purchase threshold ($10,000) and publish the required information on a public-facing, OMB-designated, governmentwide website and follow OMB guidance to support Transparency Act implementation.

The Agency hereby notifies all bidders that it will affirmatively ensure that in any contract entered into pursuant to this advertisement, minority business enterprises will be afforded full opportunity to submit bids in response to this invitation and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religious creed, sex, national origin or any other basis protected by applicable law.

Any contract awarded through this RFP is dependent on a federal grant award, the Agency reserves the right to reduce the level of services to match reduced levels of funding, or at the Agency’s option, the Agency may terminate this Contract, should the funding source no longer be available, or the amount be reduced.

The contract is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Contractors will need to register in before any investment is made with the selected agency.


The term for the scope of work is three (3) years with the option to renew for another three years. Both parties will be required to give 60-days written notice if either wishes to terminate the contract prior to expiration.


The following schedule provides key milestones and their completion dates. Los Angeles Tourism may modify the timeline at its discretion and will notify vendors of any changes. 
•    April 3: RFP Posted
•    April 10: Agencies submit intent to bid
•    April 10-14: Questions about the project will be addressed in a scheduled 60-minute call
•    May 17: RFP Proposals Due to LA Tourism
•    May 22-30: Agency Presentations (Finalists)
•    May 31: Project Awarded
•    June 5: Discovery & Strategy Development
•    July 6: Draft Media Plan
•    July 17: Media Plan Finalized
•    August 4: Tentative Creative Deadline
•    August 21: Ad Campaign Launch Date


Submission Requirements 
This RFP is for those able to meet the requirements and deliver on the full scope of work outlined. All proposals will be reviewed carefully. Up to three finalists will be selected for an in-person or virtual presentation the week of May 22. 

•    Examples of most relevant work and references. 
•    Experience in international markets mentioned in the scope. Ability to work with other agencies overseas? Do you have any international partners?
•    Describe in detail how you would execute the scope of work based on the situation, goal and audience.
•    Overview of agency, client roster, gross annual billings, staff bios that would be day-to-day on the account, and office location(s).
•    Blended commission structure.
•    What distinguishes you as an agency from others?
•    Suggested staffing of our account
•    How would you embrace DEI as part of this project, so all voices are heard?
•    Note whether your organization is certified by City of L.A. as a Small Local Business, Minority/Women Business Enterprise and/or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.

As a condition of this federal award, any contractor receiving a contract of $250,000 or more must register with the System for Award Management (SAM).  The SAM registration is valid for one year from the date the registration is complete and must be renewed for as long as the federally funded contract is active.  The registering entity must complete a full registration prior to accessing any federal funds.  The SAM registration website may be accessed at: | Entity Registrations.  


Selection Criteria
A selection committee consisting of members of Los Angeles Tourism management will be evaluating agencies based on the following criteria:
•    Relevant experience
•    Creativity 
•    Detailed description of how the agency would execute the scope of work based on the situation, goal, and audience.
•    Knowledge and understanding of Los Angeles.
•    Will the agency’s approach stand out from other destination advertising?
•    Competitive commission structure.

All proposals will be reviewed by LA Tourism’s selection committee and up to three (3) agencies will be selected as finalists. Each finalist will be asked to attend an in-person or virtual meeting the week of May 22, 2023. The finalist will be selected by May 31, so that we can launch our Fall advertising campaign on August 21.


Delivery of Response
Please confirm your interest in pursuing the RFP by April 10, 2023 by email to If interested, your response must be on company letterhead.

Questions about the project and submission process will be addressed in a scheduled 60-minute call the week of April 10, 2023. 

Formal Presentations will be conducted in person or virtually via Zoom. Please submit the presentations prior to the week of May 22 in case of technical difficulty.