Sevier Co. inn spends more money advertising for jobs than advertising inn

The American Hotel and Lodging Association reported 97% of hotel operators said they are understaffed.
A unique approach to getting employees
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 11:25 PM EDT
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SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The general manager of a Sevierville inn called Blue Mountain Mist Country Inn and Cottages said he spends more money advertising for employee jobs to work at the inn than advertising the inn itself.

“Staffing for any position is hard,” General Manager of the Blue Mountain Country Inn and Cottages, Jason Ball, said.

He said he needs part-time help. The labor shortage impacts the hospitality industry as well.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association reported 97% of hotel operators said they are understaffed.

“We spend more money in employee ads than we do for ads to get guests to come and stay,” Ball said.

He said it impacts him, but more the customer.

“We’re very customer-based here at our business,” Ball said, “When you’re in an industry like ours where people pre-book, changing rates, doesn’t happen right away.”

Competitive wages are what Ball used to retain employees. He said 55% of his total costs go to paying his staff which is up 20% in the past year.

“People need workers. And the only way to get workers to come to you is to raise wages,” Ball said.

“We have more jobs here than we have people to fill,” Sevier County Economic Development Council Executive Director, Allen Newton, said.

Newton said since 2016 the county’s had a labor shortage.

The solution these two agreed on was adding more housing so employees don’t have to travel from neighboring counties or beyond.

“We’re doing everything we can from a government perspective to try to cause housing to be built so more will want to move here and work,” Newton explained.

But they know that takes time. Until then, Ball will help fill any role that’s needed.

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