Another area central to the Lake Tahoe region was tourism, hospitality, and leisure. Those areas dependent on transport and leisure were among the most impacted.
So have other businesses associated with transportation, such as gas stations, automotive repair, and motels.
As if falling off the precipice into a canyon, resorts, hotels, and much of the economy in Tahoe, as it did in many other resort-based areas, changed overnight. Now, nearly three years on, that has seen up’s and downs, tourism is sporadically returning.
But there are not just challenges in filling rentals, but also in finding staff. Scores of places post vacancies on local and national sites; all compete for a smaller cadre of people attracted to the hospitality industry.
I’ve spent about 2 decades studying and practicing various marketing strategies to learn which are the most effective marketing tools for today’s competitive marketplace.
I also created a bestselling program to help entrepreneurs make money online called “Make Profitable Courses Without The Overwhelm.”
Coming up I will share some helpful insights about the challenges in the leisure and hospital industry.
Hospitality, like many other industries, attracts various personality types. One critical feature is that those who want to work in this industry enjoy helping others. Waiting on tables, working at the front desk, bartending, and the like, by definition, interface with patrons. People are usually civil, kind, and considerate. But other situations are challenging. Being able to remain professional and composed is not for everybody. And when the pay is low, staff turnover is unavoidable.
Team spirit and management support will counter such. If staff feel an affinity for one another, and management will stand by them, then even those who think they are not well-paid will hesitate to quit.
Location is another factor. Access to the slopes with lodging in an area that otherwise would be out of reach brings in staff. Working in an area that is a tourist attraction offsets the remoteness, churlish customers, and low pay.
Working in hospitality is a stepping stone. As such, it attracts younger people, such as recent or soon-to-be graduates with degrees like bachelor in hospitality management. The skills gained in hospitality reflect well on a resumé as they are transferable to other jobs. Also, while Gen Z (born after 1996) are more computer literate, many lack empathy and the people skills gained by working in hospitality.
Working in close quarters with transient tourists has highlighted the health risks. The role of front-line staff and first responders has reminded us of how we rely on people and should demonstrate civility, respect, and appreciation. Many of those jobs had little risk of funding, and the stress of the pandemic led many to rethink their work.
In general, though, for hospitality, a lack of income caused by sub-normal occupancy and footfall rates strained many businesses. Thankfully, respite came for some in the form of government payroll schemes. Unfortunately others, had to find ways to let staff go and hope that when trade resumed, so they could bring a team back on board. The thought? People would be able to collect unemployment and not suffer medical or other costs. So they’d then be delighted to return sometime in the future. And this has been the case for some.
Restaurants, for example, that could move to a delivery model could keep their kitchens going. To keep their operations going during COVID-19 restrictions, those who couldn’t switch to a delivery model adapted by embracing technology for QR code menus, contactless payments, and digital ordering. But still, they let most of their serving and cleaning staff go.
Though not in the Tahoe area, Melissa Mundy in Augusta, Georgia explained how she and her husband pivoted a food and beverage operation at a golf course into a catering business. They also found themselves delivering groceries to residents.
The way that a community reacts to a societal challenge is telling. Mundy and others describe how they found ways to work with their suppliers and competitors to weather the lockdowns and drop in income. The clientele patronizing their services showed their support by giving more extensive tips and showing more patience. Overall, the sense of partnership and team came through despite the hardships being endured.
For smaller businesses with fewer reserves, realizing there are no winners if most of their competitors fail has fostered community throughout the country. The same applies in the Lake Tahoe area.
Tourism will remain core to our area, and thus, luring workers to the thousands of seasonal jobs will continue to be a challenge. Today, more than before, recruiting staff needs to instill a sense of joining a local, supportive community while offering life skills that will be invaluable later in life.
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