NEW YORK: The US Virgin Islands has hired Development Counsellors International as its tourism marketing communications representative.
The firm will work with the Islands' tourism officials around the world to leverage the territory's “You, Unscripted” effort that describes how visitors can create their own unique vacation experience there.
The contract is worth more than $1.8 million in year one of a two-year agreement. The scope of DCI's work includes raising consumer awareness about the Islands' tourism experiences through media relations, consumer promotions, and film projects. Additionally, the agency will work to promote the Virgin Islands as a meeting and incentive location.
The firm beat out 23 agencies for the contract, according to Virgin Islands' officials.
“DCI's extensive experience in the tourism space will bring a new level of strategic insight to marketing across all industry segments,” said tourism commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty in a statement.
The firm's work in the meetings and incentive space helped to set it apart from other agencies. That work involves reaching out to companies that offer vacations as incentives for meeting performance goals, according to Allegra Kean-Moorehead, director of communications at the Islands' tourism commission.
DCI is taking over the account from M Booth, which decided not to re-bid after working on it for five and half years.
“It's a spectacular destination, and we did great work together. After a good deal of thought and discussion, though, we decided not to re-pitch the business when the contract was up. We know DCI will do a terrific job, and wish them well,” said Margi Booth, CEO of M Booth.
Booth did not say why it chose not to rebid and it did not inform the Virgin Islands as to why it decided to walk away, Kean-Moorehead said.
Since DCI first heard it had won the account, M Booth reached out with insight about its time working on the contract. Levine said the firm has been gracious.
DCI will collaborate with JWT, advertising AOR for the Virgin Islands' department of tourism, and Marketplace Excellence, the agency responsible for Caribbean and diaspora media relations.
DCI's contract with the Virgin Islands is a reunion of sorts. The firm worked with the territory in the late 1980s and 1990s.
The goal of increasing the number of visitors to the Islands remains, but outreach has changed, said Andy Levine, president of DCI.
“The focus used to be on print journalism; for this contract, it's more about digital and there is a heavy broadcast [emphasis], which is different from the old days when it was basically about three channels,” he said.
Overall, 2.6 million people visited the US Virgin Islands in 2011, a 5.4% increase compared with the 2.5 million visitors that came in 2010 and up 18% from the 2.2 million people who visited the territory in 2009, according to tourism data.
In April, Visit California re-hired DCI to promote the state as a premiere travel destination within the US and Canada.