Seasonal Businesses See Year-Round Demand, Still. 5 Ways to Hire (Fast) Amid the Great Resignation

Like many beach towns, Colonial Beach, Virginia’s “peak season” is from Memorial Day through Labor Day. These days, September and October are just as busy.

With the continued surge in visitors and part timers, turned full-timers during the pandemic, businesses in traditionally seasonal tourist destinations like Colonial Beach have witnessed an odd effect: Their operations are no longer seasonal, or their busy seasons have stretched into typically slow months.

That’s true for Kelly Woods Vaughn, owner and CEO of boutique hotel Riverview Inn in Colonial Beach. These days, she says she’s seeing an influx of people from spring break in March all the way through November as opposed to Labor Day. “We were incredibly busy,” she says, speaking of this past summer into fall. “My husband and I were working 16-hour days at the Inn.”

Vacation rentals are also booming. During off-season periods Clark Twiddy, president of Twiddy and Company, a vacation rental company based in Corolla, North Carolina, in the northernmost region of the Outer Banks, says demand is up more than 20 percent as compared to pre-pandemic levels and, in early January, bookings were up 300 percent.

To be sure, this is one of those good problems to have–too much business, that is. However, given the ongoing labor crunch amid the Great Resignation, being in a situation of needing to hire workers when workers are scarce is hardly enviable. Here’s how some businesses are handling the labor shortage:

Adopt contactless technology. 

Some businesses are dealing with increased demand by adopting new technology–and they’re not going back. “The hospitality industry truly has changed,” says Woods Vaughn. She started using no-contact, digital check-in services last year because they allow current staff to focus on other aspects of the business, such as the overall health and management of the Inn.

While her business has benefited from increased efficiency, Woods Vaughn points out, too, that consumers are increasingly calling on businesses to change. “Guests are more demanding and less aware or are completely hands off,” she says adding that business owners, who don’t adapt to changing consumer needs will likely struggle going forward.

Hire locally.

Some businesses are better equipped to hire quickly, especially those that usually focus on hiring locally and have pre-existing training programs, notes Henley Vazquez, co-founder of Fora, New York City-based a startup that offers data-driven travel recommendations. That became abundantly clear, when borders closed, she says. The hotels that typically would have (at least partially) hired internationally had to refocus their efforts on recruiting locally. 

Unlike hiring international workers, local hiring often goes back to the basics such as referrals, local career sites and job boards. Postings about positions on social networks are also a great way to contact those locally in the community.

Put marketing muscle behind hiring. 

When in doubt, consider including job postings in marketing materials and beefing up your referrals network. Now that the traditional busy season has been extended on both ends, hiring new workers has become a key goal among hospitality marketing teams, says Scott Ford, director of marketing for Innisfree Hotels, a hotel management and development company in Gulf Breeze, Florida.

“It’s not enough to market our properties to guests anymore, we now have to include prospective team members in our marketing campaigns to staff up our hotels and restaurants.”

Offer full-time positions.

One thing working in seasonal-turned-year-round businesses’ favor: Offering full-time, year-round positions is more attractive than traditionally seasonal gigs, which tend to be temporary and operate without benefits. Woods Vaughn notes that one of her business partners, who owns villas in Mexico, was able to absorb off-season hikes by staffing year-round service and maintenance employees. 

Similarly, David Angotti, CEO of, a resource for restaurants, attractions, and vacation rentals in the Hawaiian Islands, has noticed that many businesses in the area are hiring for year-round roles instead of those that are just seasonal. What’s more, he adds, an influx of people moving to Hawaii from the continental U.S. has offered local businesses a new source for local talent looking to take advantage of the booming tourism industry. 

Give current workers a raise.

Woods Vaughn raised the wages of her current employees to get them to stay on. She says it not only enticed staffers to stay, but also drew in new applicants. “My employees and my team mean a lot to me and it’s been a little bit of a challenge to find new people here. So when it got around town that we’re raising rates, it helped.”

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