Request For Proposal: Product Development Research and Strategy


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Explorers’ Edge (RTO12) is the regional tourism organization for Algonquin Park, the Almaguin Highlands, Loring-Restoule, Muskoka and Parry Sound funded by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport. With some of Canada’s most iconic natural landscapes within its borders, including those that inspired the Group of Seven painters, and recognized as one of the most popular travel destinations in the province, RTO12 promotes travel to the great Canadian wilderness just north of Toronto in all four spectacular seasons.

Project Timetable

  • Request for Proposal Issued Tuesday June 27, 2017
  • RFP Due Wednesday July 26, 2017 @ 3.00pm

Executive Summary: The “Worldly Wise Strategy”

RTO12 is seeking the expertise of a tourism product development consultant to conduct research into and to create the framework for a multi-year Product Development Strategy.

After six years in operation and after four years of exceptional domestic marketing success, RTO12 is now working to significantly increase the volume of visitors to the region by implementing various international marketing initiatives. Known collectively under the umbrella “Worldly Wise Strategy” of the RTO, one of these key initiatives in the current fiscal year – one that will ensure ongoing domestic and new international marketing success – will be the establishment of strong, differentiated product offering that distinguishes the region in the global tourism marketplace.

The Opportunity:

The consultant will work with RTO12 staff and stakeholders to identify competitive product opportunities for development (taking into consideration the core and potential partnership budget of the RTO) in order to attract the greatest volume of domestic and international travellers to the region.

The consultant will also make recommendations for a three-year strategy to outline the ongoing support for and investment in specific competitive tourism product that will be needed to significantly increase visitation to the region. “Product” may include tangible experiences and/or service delivery models.



  1. Conduct an environmental scan of current regional differentiated product, including general and pertinent market-ready offerings
  2. Conduct analysis of relevant competitive product offering in Ontario, Canada and globally
  3. Determine gaps in regional product offering that need to be filled in order to compete in the global marketplace
  4. Rate current product offering as 1) not developed 2) needs enhancement and 3) fully developed
  5. Match product offering with consumer demand and determine size of potential markets
  6. Make recommendation for new product development for high potential markets
  7. Gather intelligence from RTO12 tourism stakeholders and staff to formulate recommendations and findings in all of the above

Product Strategy Framework:

Create a product development framework for RTO12 staff to finalize a 3-Year Product Development Strategy. (This strategy will be part of and relate to the new Destination Development Plan that will be developed in the latter half of the fiscal 2017-2018 year.)

This RFP is to be completed by October 20, 2017 & will be undertaken in three phases (as part of this RFP):

The anticipated phased approach is defined in greater detail as follows

Statement of work:

Phase One: Significant consultation with RTO12 / Explorers’ Edge staff to ensure objectives and executional approach are understood and agreed to.

Phase Two: Preliminary inventory and asset research, environmental scans and identification of tourism product gaps (representative of a globally competitive branded destination). Recommendations on how to fill gaps including the resources required.

Phase Three: A broad industry consultation process which, in conjunction with the intelligence gathered in Phase Two, will result in a Situation Analysis and Interim Report identifying short-term strategic priorities (for a 3-year period).

Phase Four: Based on the consultations, feedback, research, situation analysis, consumer market matching, gap identification and recommendations, the development of a comprehensive tourism product development framework for a 3-year period for Explorers’ Edge will be completed. Final consultation on the framework with RTO12 staff will then result in the development of the final Product Development Strategy. The Strategy will guide our decision making relating to tourism product development moving forward, taking into account the goals and objectives outlined.

Summary of Primary Deliverables

Phase 1 Memo Outlining Agreed to Project Approach and Ultimate Deliverables:  Required: MS Word and PDF electronic versions of the report in English

Phase 2 Report Required: MSWord and PDF electronic versions of the report in English.

Phase 3 Outreach Process Identified & Report: MSWord and PDF electronic versions of the report in English.

Phase 4 Tourism Product Framework and Collaborative (with RTO12 staff) Final Report: MSWord and PDF electronic versions of the report in English.

Required: The final report must be provided in print, in English as well as one PDF and one Word version. In addition, electronic versions of supporting documents will be provided when available.

The proposal, at a minimum, will break out the costs across the following:

  • Research
  • Industry Outreach
  • Travel
  • Framework & Strategy Development

Your proposal will form an integral part of the contract and will be considered the Scope of Work for the Initial Term.

Corporate Information:

Please provide a synopsis of your qualifications, including a detailed summary of previous successful planning and training for comparable clients. Also include:

  • A description of the respondent’s company, including location(s), business operations, financial security, and corporate history
  • A standard contract proposal

Note:  Proponents shall identify, within their submission, all excluded items.

Assumptions:  The entire project will be fully completed no later than October 20, 2017