Working "Seasonal" in the Hospitality Industry

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If you have been looking for a job with little success, seasonal work in the hospitality industry may be a way to get you on the payroll and give you an opportunity to demonstrate your value and result in a regular job. When I was HR Director for a hotel/resort/spa in South Carolina, our season began in April and ended in November. Since our business declined greatly in the winter months, it wasn’t cost effective to hire full-time employees to fill server, houseman, housekeeper, recreation, front desk and cook positions that only lasted 10 months. We needed skilled workers who could deliver excellent customer service to our guests with the understanding that their employment would end after a pre-determined period of time. Location and size of the hotel or resort determines the number and type of hospitality seasonal jobs available. Our season spanned the summer, while a hotel in Colorado or Vermont might see most of their business in the winter months to accommodate skiers and other winter activities and attractions. When weather isn’t a factor, most hotels/resorts have a “summer” season from Memorial Day until Labor Day and need to staff up for those few months. Before the economic recession, hotels, resorts and large restaurant chains brought in foreign workers to fill these positions. They weren’t as attractive to the local population because they were seasonal. Now with unemployment rates reaching 10% is some areas, the hospitality industry is looking for more local talent to fill those jobs, and there are more skilled local workers available. Even if businesses decide that they want to bring in foreign workers, they have to advertise those positions first in the local newspapers. Many jobs offer housing, meals and other perks as well as an hourly wage. Local applicants have to be considered first before a business is granted foreign worker certification, so local applicants have an advantage. Once you land a job, it is up to the individual to make the most of the opportunity. Every year we would find individuals that showed excellent work habits and customer service skills. They were rewarded with lead and supervisory positions with the appropriate pay increases. As a local seasonal worker, you would not only add value to the company during the season but could also be considered for positions that come open while you are working. Since most hotels/resorts are most profitable during their busy season, there is potential for overtime. Some of our servers, golf course attendants and banquet staff pulled in a bigger paycheck than our managers, due to seasonal overtime. Many were able to take the extra pay and bank if for the months between seasonal work. They then took a two-month vacation or found other work to fill in the gap. Whether you’re trying to find a full-time job, a senior looking to supplement your Social Security income or just looking for a fun, temporary job to earn extra money, a seasonal position can provide an income and time to look at other options. Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a consultant, blogger, motivational speaker and freelance writer for Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in Training magazine, Training & Development magazine, Supervision, BiS Magazine and The Savannah Morning News. When she’s not writing, she enjoys singing Alto II with the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus and helping clients discover what they love and spend their life on it. You can read more of her blogs at and view additional job postings on Nexxt.

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