York County hotels are expecting a spike in reservations thanks to the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, but some travelers are waiting until the very last minute to book a room.

Nearly all of the rooms at the Holiday Inn Holidome are booked the week of July 1, said general manager Dan Johnson.

Not all of that is Civil War-related, however. The hotel always sees increased traffic because of sports tournaments.

Later in the week is especially heavy with history buffs, Johnson said.

"People want to be here on the Fourth," he said.

Gettysburg is hosting dozens of events during the next few weeks to commemorate the July 1-3, 1863, battle.

Last-minute bookings: Some smart travelers booked in York early to avoid the inflated rates in Gettysburg. But others are making reservations at the last minute, Johnson said.

"They're looking at the outskirts, the close-enoughs but not right in the heart of," Johnson said. "The diehards are in Gettysburg. If you want to be right there in it, you would have booked a long time ago."

The beginning of the anniversary week is "soft," but the weekend is nearly sold out, said Lizz Todd, director of sales at Four Points by Sheraton York.

"At this point, we have not seen a huge impact from Gettysburg. I'm hoping that we get some pickup on it," Todd said. "Everybody's so last-minute with booking that this is not unusual. People used to book their vacations well in advance, and now there's a lot of spur of the moment."


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At Heritage Hills, the staff has been promoting the 150th anniversary through online marketing campaigns.

"We're definitely getting some guests asking questions, but we're not necessarily filling hotel rooms just for Gettysburg alone," said Melissa Beaverson, the resort's director of marketing.

Todd said she's heard that Gettysburg and Hanover hotels are completely booked. Last-minute travelers are starting to look in Harrisburg, Lancaster and York, she said.

"We're still kind of hoping and praying and wishing and all that kind of good stuff," she said.

-- Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.