Resorts Boosting Wages and Benefits to Attract Staff

With the shortage of workers and accommodations resorts are boosting wages and benefits to attract staff.

Mt. Hood Meadows aims to make working at the resort more attractive with higher wages, benefits, and increased housing opportunities as the winter season approaches.

Meadows is raising its base pay to $15 per hour and will increase wages for all team members by $1.25 per hour. The entry-level wage is now $2.25 higher than the Oregon state required minimum. The resort is also providing a $200 vaccination incentive to all team members and is reinstituting Covid sick leave to allow staff to stay home when feeling ill so as not to risk infecting other employees and guests.

“Our added Covid sick leave, vaccine incentive, and wage increases [combined] represents the largest single investment we will make for this season,” said general manager Greg Pack. “The investment we continue to make in our workforce will help us accommodate the growing demand this season and beyond.”

“We have long provided meaningful work, a chance to learn new skills, and a fun team atmosphere,” said Matt Troskey, VP of people and learning. “With this increase in wages, along with other improvements to our compensation program, we hope to continue to assist our team to afford to live in the area.”

Staff living in nearby Sandy and Hood River can take free shuttle transportation to work, provided by the resort. Meadows also provides staff with a 70 percent discount at resort restaurants and childcare for $25 a day.

In addition, Meadows is aiming to expand employee housing opportunities by offering lift ticket and season pass incentives to local landlords who provide affordable housing for staff. The resort has hired a housing programs supervisor to manage team-member housing opportunities.

Manning Park Resort announced that as a component of their ongoing commitment to their staff, the Resort will be raising the starting hourly rate to $18/hour to be more reflective of today’s value. This is effective for all starting positions with the exception of servers and bartenders, which follow provincial wages due to the nature of the tipping industry.

“Manning Park Resort is focused on supporting and developing its employees. Over the past year, we have implemented a variety of employee development and assistance programs to support our staff and we are not done yet. The recent implementation of an $18/hour starting wage furthers our vision and commitment to properly support employees with a living wage. When combined with our free staff housing, this presents a strong financial foundation for our employees,” states Jarred Hupe, the Resort’s Assistant General Manager.

In addition, there are currently two new staff accommodation facilities under construction that are slated to be completed before the start of this winter season. Hupe added, “they are 24 brand-new one-bedroom apartment units. Each fully furnished unit comes complete with its own kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living space. These units will become the standard for future housing.” All staff housing is rent-free with only a nominal bi-weekly utility fee charged. Another facility soon to be opened is a staff-only recreation and gathering building.2 New Staff Housing Accommodation Buildings

In mid-2020, it was recognized that there was a need to provide additional services to the staff. Matt Holbrook, People and Culture Manager, headed up the task of getting the On-Site Medical & Mental Health Support that was needed. Holbrook says “every month a Nurse Practitioner and a Counsellor spend a day at Manning Park Resort to take staff appointments. This service is free and has been widely used. Most times the appointments are full.” This program is a first for the destination resort industry and has caught the attention of the entire industry as resorts look at ways in which they can further support staff in remote environments.

As the demand for workers increases Resorts are finally starting to pay a fair wage and offer staff accommodations. Aspen just made an announcement and Whistler has been proactive for over a decade. Those without will only determine the necessity at a later date. Ski the world!