Student Authors:

Logan Grubb '21, Gettysburg College

Jared Michaels '22, Gettysburg College

Document Type


Publication Date


Department 1

Public Policy


The researchers originally became aware of the existence of DMOs (previously known as tourism promotion agencies or TPAs) when reading materials in the Gettysburg Times. The two student-authors plan to work in local government following graduation, and they were curious about perspectives shared in the Gettysburg Times about the local DMO. Thereafter, a representative from the Gettysburg Borough Council approached the faculty-author about conducting research on DMOs’ policies, procedures, and practices, and, relatedly, the “pillow tax,” a hotel room occupancy tax that is administered by counties and disbursed to DMOs, among others. Specifically, the Borough Council representative was curious about best practices with respect to allocation of the pillow tax; how DMOs use pillow tax revenue; and how DMOs account for such use. The Borough representative also was curious about general business practices among DMOs. The faculty-author applied for and obtained approval from the Gettysburg College Institutional Review Board for research among Pennsylvania DMOs and their representatives on these issues. This white paper briefly summarizes the history of the relationship between Pennsylvania DMOs and the pillow tax then describes the researchers’ methodology. Next, the white paper describes what Study DMOs appear to believe are best practices, or most commonly accepted practices, in six categories: Boards of Directors; Revenue; Grant Making; Spending; Assessment; and Future Planning. All data are reported in aggregate to minimize the risk of revealing individually identifiable data. These findings may inform DMO, community, and county decision-making.


A copy of this white paper is also available from the Gettysburg Borough website.