Marketing Assistance Program


The Marketing Assistance Program was created as an incubator to local tourism-related projects and/or events. Offered twice each year (spring and fall), this program supports eligible Partners with financial assistance for Marketing and Sales programs via a matching funds model. Up to $7,500 may be provided for approved Marketing and Sales-related projects. 



Marketing Assistance Eligibility

These funds are made possible through the increased generation of Dauphin County tourism room tax funds. Applicants must demonstrate active participation with local organizations that market, sell, and promote economic growth throughout Dauphin County.

  • All applicants participating in the project must be investing Partners of Visit Hershey & Harrisburg.
  • A minimum of three (3) investing Partners must collaborate on a proposed project, or this must be a NEW event to qualify for funding. This fosters collaboration, creativity, and new product development ensuring economic growth for Dauphin County.
  • Funds are available to any businesses, non-profits, or new events that will directly promote tourism AND affect the economic impact of Dauphin County.
  • Events, organizations, tradeshows, and conventions that have or will receive room tax grant funding from any other tourism, economic development, or governmental agency are not eligible.

Application Process

  1. Schedule a meeting to go over the guidelines with the President or VP of Operations.
  2. Complete an application, including proposed bids, marketing plan, tools of measurement, anticipated advertising plan, including estimates, rough copy, and mock-ups/comps.
  3. Submit completed application according to the timeline below. (Late/incomplete applications will not be accepted.)
  4. Applicants will present their marketing plan to a review panel. Decisions are made by majority vote.
  5. Within 30 days you will be notified informing you if, and to what degree, Visit Hershey & Harrisburg has approved funding for your project/event.
  6. Any changes or amendments to the approved application must be approved by Visit Hershey & Harrisburg prior to execution.
  7. Creative MUST be approved by Visit Hershey & Harrisburg PRIOR to execution, including approved Visit Hershey & Harrisburg messaging/creative.
  8. Submit payment request by providing proof of paid invoices. Visit Hershey & Harrisburg will match expenses up to amount granted.
  9. Upon completion of the approved project or event, a final report must be submitted within 60 days. If the report is not submitted to Visit Hershey & Harrisburg within 90 days of project completion, Visit Hershey & Harrisburg’s agreement with you and/or your organization is considered null and void. All requests for payment must be submitted within one year of grant approval.

Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the agreement may result in penalties, including fund repayment.

Eligible Marketing Advertising Efforts

  • Radio (including digital - i.e. Pandora)
  • Registration or booth expenses for out-of-market consumer shows
  • Digital
  • Print (newspapers and magazines)
  • Direct marketing (emails, direct mail)
  • Outdoor
  • Social Media

Ineligible Expenses (Funding Will Not Be Provided)

  • Expenses related to event production
  • Advertising in Visit Hershey & Harrisburg marketing materials
  • T-shirts
  • Medals
  • Postage/Shipping
  • Signage
  • Entertainment
  • Traveling Expenses (mileage, meals, accommodations)
  • Television
  • Expenses not listed in your grant application
  • Website

Additional Information

  • Previously awarded applicants may reapply for up to three times (total) at decreasing award levels. Funding will be awarded on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must follow all steps of the application process for each submission.
  • It should not be presumed that funds will be awarded on an annual basis, nor should the availability of these grant awards be considered an annual part of any applicant’s budget.
  • Payment will be issued against paid invoices. All payments are made payable to the applicant.
  • Visit Hershey & Harrisburg reserves the right to decide on a per-application basis on which and to what degree they assist in a project.
  • All funded projects must feature Visit Hershey & Harrisburg creative, visible and relevant to size/ratio of marketing tool (i.e. billboard vs postcard) “This project (or event) is supported by Visit Hershey & Harrisburg.” All ads and promotional material must include the Visit Hershey & Harrisburg logo and website URL where applicable. Visit Hershey & Harrisburg must review/approve all promotional material prior to execution.

Potential matching funds for approved projects can be up to:

  • 1st year……………………………..$7,500
  • 2nd year…………………………….$5,000
  • 3rd year………………………….… $3,000

                   Map schedule

Review Panel Members:

  • President and CEO of Visit Hershey & Harrisburg
  • Vice President of Operations Visit Hershey & Harrisburg
  • Other pertinent Visit Hershey & Harrisburg staff
  • Minimally 2 Visit Hershey & Harrisburg Board Members

A marketing plan must be submitted with each application. The marketing plan is defined as a brief narrative (1 to 3 paragraphs only) detailing your overall marketing strategy and target audience (type of visitors who live a minimum of  20 miles from your place of business). The purpose of this narrative is to provide the Review Panel with your rationale on where – and to whom – you will be marketing to attract overnight guests. Incomplete Marketing Plans may result in a rejected grant application.

Approval Checklist

  • Completed Application
  • Marketing Plan
  • Expected Tools of Measurement
  • Total Project Costs/Planned Sources of Funding (50% match)
  • Media Schedule or Expected Reach
  • Plan of Distribution
  • Current Visit Hershey & Harrisburg paid Partnership
  • Nonprofit Tax Status Form (if applicable)

Visit Hershey & Harrisburg Review/Approval:

  • Creative (design, etc)
  • Appropriate representation of branding/required verbiage.


Marketing Assistance Photo