Seacoast businesses are working hard to line up the extra waitstaff and retail workers they need for summer. To help meet that demand, the Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth hosted a hospitality job fair in Portsmouth, where about 24 companies courted potential employees.
As a tourist mecca, Portsmouth is ripe with opportunities for hospitality workers, but short on workforce housing. To draw from the surrounding region, companies need to up the ante.
Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel, which hosted the event, was among the venues seeking employees. “One of the best benefits for the part-timers and the on-calls is [free] parking and a discounted rate to stay at the hotel,” says Lally De Jesus, director of human resources at the hotel. “Everybody loves it.” Crystal St. Cyr, a banquet captain for the Sheraton, says the banquet staff is a small army of part-timers who may just want to work weekends to make a little extra money and enjoy a flexible schedule.
Tanya Grindel at the Garrison Hotel in Dover says they have job openings in every department, especially for the summer, including maintenance, housekeeping and front desk positions. With the tallest order of the day, Water Country in Portsmouth was looking to fill 300 to 400 seasonal positions.
Panera Bread’s Christine Benjamin says they have several openings around the Seacoast because of expanded offerings and services, including the addition of drive-up windows and home and office delivery. “These new ventures, including the rapid pickup, are many of the ways we’re trying to accommodate customers, but it doesn’t mean we need fewer workers,” she says. Even with the addition of automated ordering kiosks, Benjamin says they still need the same number of people and sometimes more.
Colwen Hotels, with properties throughout New England, has two hotels in Portsmouth and is opening a third soon. The company is looking for seasonal help as well as staff for the new AC Hotel by Marriott, which is expected to open in Portsmouth in September. Chris Moulton, general manager of the AC Hotel Boston North, says the new hotel will have about 120 part-time and 80 full-time positions. The AC Hotel is Marriott’s modern boutique line, offering lounges that are coworking space by day and social hubs at night, serving tapas and European-style breakfasts. The trick is finding available personnel in this tight market.