As a resort community, there’s no question the impact recreation and tourism has on Park City’s service-based economy. But what happens if, due to the low unemployment rate and other factors, there aren’t enough employees to provide that service?
For Deer Valley Resort, one of Park City’s largest employers, the guest experience is their bread and butter.
“I think the guest is really our first priority, and we want to make sure that they have a great experience season after season," said Kathleen Newell, Deer Valley's recruiting coordinator. "We do have a high return of guests who come back every year, and so they're aware of our service and things like that.”
A couple weeks before the start of the summer season, Newell had 15 positions she was looking to fill, ranging from part-time snack shack operators to a senior-level general manager. The resort sources employees locally and nationally, but Newell says some jobs are continually difficult to staff.
“We do have some year-round positions, like cook twos or housekeepers, and those ones have been harder to fill because in Park City there are so many of the same position available," Newell said. "But we really try to promote our perks and benefits to entice staff to come and work with us.”
Newell says Deer Valley struggles with the same barriers that all Park City employers face—a lack of housing availability and a competitive market. Deer Valley tries to draw people in with perks and benefits, including access to resort recreation, health insurance and enough workforce housing to accommodate over 400 people in the winter.
“Housing is a really nice perk that we're able to offer for people, and in the summer it's not 100% full, so it's a much more spacious housing environment," Newell said. "And you're in town, which is great because you're on the free bus route. That's another big perk is having the free transit line because people don't need to bring their cars with them to town, which is great.”
Newell says during the winter, when the payroll grows to nearly 3,000 employees, the resort must be flexible with staff and who the ideal candidate is. They hire semi-retired residents for part-time weekend work, or high schoolers on break who want to work one day a week. Newell isn’t sure if the resort was fully staffed this past winter, but she says it didn’t impact service.
"We definitely were able to operate the mountain in full capacity and really focus on the guests’ needs," Newell said. "So we did have some people who maybe worked a little extra shifts, if they were interested in that, and we all try to help out and really focus on the guest while they’re with us."
Deer Valley Resort has already started hiring efforts for this winter.