VICTOR, N.Y. (WROC) — This is looking to be the first summer in three years that will allow the tourism industry across the Greater Rochester Area to fully open and welcome summer travelers who aren’t holding back on vacation plans. But hiring enough staff while maneuvering through inflation is the next challenge for businesses.
Millions are expected to hit the road this summer, despite higher costs in gas and other vacation expenses. Those who work in places that make Western New York and Finger Lakes unique now need to get enough seasonal workers like lifeguards, servers, and other hospitality positions to keep up.
In Victor, Mike Roeder is going into his 20th year leading the Ravenwood Golf Club. Their prime season for visitors is already underway and they still need to fill positions.
“We’re still having a challenge to get the employee level up to the level we’re looking for to offer the kind of service we like to offer,” Roeder said. “So, we do have some people that are working longer hours and overtime just to take place on some of the holes that we have.”
The situation is the same for places like Seabreeze who’s still looking to fill more than a dozen job openings despite already being open on weekends. At Ravenwood, Roeder was hoping to fill seasonal jobs with students home for the summer but has still fallen short.
“We will pick up a few younger people now that high school is ending,” Roeder said. “And the colleges are pretty much out so we’ve got those people already working. It’s also a challenge because we have people working here from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m.”
Business owners in the tourism industry know they’ll need to fill these spots soon because even with the annual U.S inflation rate hitting 8.3% according to the Department of Labor, people near and far are expected to travel through the Greater Rochester Area this year to see what makes it unique.
“It honestly feels like we’re just so blessed to be able to be back,” Mary Ferrauilo, who’s attending a friend’s wedding, said. “And what I love the most about getting back together like this is that we all just feel more grateful. Everybody was just so excited and eager to get back into it.”
“It’s great, I love coming up here,” Tim Dean, who’s visiting Ravenwood from Florida, said. “These are my friends and there’s nothing better.”