Resort Workers


Employment Prospects


Resorts are located all over the country, from multimillion-dollar hotels to smaller, family-owned adventure companies. Jobs are plentiful. The hard part, especially if relocation is not a problem, is deciding which type of resort to work for. There are several important factors to consider before starting your job search: location, size of company, cost of living, and work availability. Here are profiles of three popular resort regions:

Aspen, Colorado

There are many jobs available in Aspen, such as waiting on tables, housekeeping, or bellhopping. Most pay minimum wage or higher, but tips can greatly increase your weekly salary. Besides world-class venues for skiing, biking, and hiking, spectacular views, and clean mountain air, Aspen attracts a diverse group of people from different backgrounds and interests. Be forewarned: Aspen, as with many other Colorado resort towns, is very expensive. You may have to share the rent with a roommate(s), or consider finding more affordable housing outside of town. Most resort jobs are seasonal, from mid-October to mid-April. Unless you are fortunate enough to land a job year-round, save up for the off season. The big employer in Aspen is The Aspen Skiing Company, which has seasonal and some year-round work at its four ski areas and four hotel resorts.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Not only is this town a gambler's haven, it is also a place to go for entertainment, culture, sightseeing, and outdoor activities. The growth of mega-resorts catering to a diverse crowd of tourists, from wealthy gamblers to families, has turned Vegas into a hot travel destination. The good news: Most resort jobs in Vegas are year-round. This town is host to the largest business conventions and trade shows, so in addition to entry-level jobs, conference planners, chefs, hotel managers, and entertainers are needed to take care of the millions of conventioneers that come to Vegas each year. Housing in Las Vegas is very affordable. Many apartments advertise one month free as an incentive to potential renters. The bad news: It gets really hot in the summer. With temperatures rising over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, be sure to find out whether your resort job is primarily indoors during the months of June, July, and August. Check out the MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mirage Hotel as well as the Bellagio and other well-known properties.

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Jobs are available for waitresses/waiters, bartenders, beach lifeguards, or as guides for fishing tours. Most jobs are seasonal, lasting from mid-April to the end of October. Because of the location, a ferry ride away from the mainland, and the relatively small size of the island, housing for workers is costly. Prospective resort workers may want to consider working at some of the larger hotels; the hourly pay may be low, minimum wage or little better, but at least they offer free or subsidized housing. Applicants with hotel or restaurant experience are desired.

Starting Out

This is a popular industry, so it's important to apply early in order to get a choice position. A good rule of thumb is to submit your application at least two seasons in advance. That means no later than early spring for warm weather resorts, and the end of summer for Alpine resorts. Since many resorts recruit heavily at college campuses, and some high schools, your career guidance center would be a good place to start your job search. See if they post job opportunities, or have information on resort companies. The Internet offers a wealth of information on resort employment. Visit the Web site for industry information, tips on how to land the right jobs, and a listing of available positions. You may also want to check the chamber of commerce in a particular town of interest, or check the Internet or your local bookstore for a copy of the local paper.

Your place of residence is an important factor when applying for a resort job, especially with some of the larger Alpine resorts, and almost all resorts in Hawaii. Blame it on the high cost of living at such places. Since employer-provided housing in Hawaii, for example, is scarce, and rental properties and apartments are so expensive, most resorts will not consider applicants without a local address. You should always research the cost of living in an area when considering resort worker jobs.

Recruiters also look for a commitment to stay the length of the season. When new hires leave mid-season, resort managers find themselves scrambling to find a replacement, or the entire department ends up pulling the slack.

Advancement Prospects

Many employees return to resort jobs year after year. If they spend their first summer in an entry-level position, chances are they can advance to a job with more responsibility the next season. Bussers can advance to a waitstaff position, switchboard operators to a job as a front desk clerk, and housekeepers can become floor managers.

Tips for Entry

Visit for job listings. 

Talk to resort workers about their careers. Ask them for advice on breaking into the field.  

Land a part-time job at a resort to hone your customer service skills and make industry contacts.