How to Find the Ideal Resort Job that Includes Housing

For Candidates, Hospitality

What is Hospitality Management?
Working for resorts lets you keep earning an income while you travel around the world, enjoy the outdoors, and experience new and exciting things. Finding a resort job with housing included cuts your travel costs down to a minimum, eliminating the expense of lodging. It also saves you the hassle of trying to find affordable accommodations for just one season, and gives you the peace of mind to know you’ll have a place to stay from the first day you arrive. 

Of course, not all employers in the resort industry offer lodging to workers, and this type of on-site living arrangement isn’t going to be a good fit for some people. There are some things you should consider before you start looking for a housing included resort opportunity. Once you’re sure this type of arrangement will suit your skills and lifestyle, you’ll find there are resort jobs with housing in a variety of locations and settings, from ski lodges in the mountains to tropical beach-front properties.


Types of resort jobs that include housing

It takes a lot of staff to keep a resort running smoothly, though the specific roles that are available will depend somewhat on the location. Pretty much every property will have jobs like front desk attendant, housekeeping staff, and cooks and servers for their restaurant. Many resorts will also hire people to help out with guest activities, like tour guides, lifeguards, operators for rides, ski lifts, and other equipment, or instructors for activities like surfing or snowboarding. Finally, every resort has “back office” departments of people who oversee the finances, HR, sales, marketing, and overall guest experience. 

Now, how many of these roles will have the option of included housing depends on the property. The more isolated the resort is, the more on-site housing they’re likely to have available for staff. A wilderness resort may be the only place to live within a few hours, and so will provide housing as a matter of course even to full-time permanent employees. Similarly, if the resort is on an island with limited ferry service, they’ll likely have enough space for all of their employees to stay on-site.

With other properties, housing may only be included for seasonal positions. These jobs will be offered during the property’s peak season, and will normally be fairly low-paying, entry-level positions. This is ideal for someone who has a passion for travel and only plans to stay in each place for a few months anyway, but can make it tricky to build a long-term career in hospitality.


Where to find resort jobs

You can find positions in resorts listed on standard, all-purpose job marketplaces like Indeed and SimplyHired. Using the search term “housing provided” will help limit your results to opportunities that offer housing, though you’ll likely still need to sift through some less relevant results to find the types of roles you’re looking for on these sites. 

There are also websites specifically for individuals seeking resort jobs, and these will be a more reliable place to find lots of roles that include lodging. Some of the top sites to check out include: 

  • Occupation Wild. Focused only on outdoor, adventure, and travel jobs, Occupation Wild lists jobs across the United States, including opportunities with national parks and seasonal roles in locations like ski resorts. They have a page on their listing devoted to jobs with housing.
  • CoolWorks. Another site focused on jobs in the outdoors, CoolWorks is a top place to find work at a lodge or resort, along with places like summer camps or ranches that hire seasonal housing provided employees. You can also look at a listing of only jobs that include housing on their site. 
  • Wander Jobs. Along with a searchable database of current positions, Wander Jobs has a blog and podcast where they share helpful info and tips for those interested in seasonal employment and the nomad lifestyle, making them a great knowledge resource.
  • MountainJobs. For those specifically interested in working at a mountain or ski resort, the Mountain Jobs database is worth searching, and their advanced job search function lets you filter the search results to your specific needs. The majority of their roles are in Colorado, though they also list opportunities in nearby western states like Montana, California, and Idaho.


Employee housing options

Employer-provided housing facilities show the same wide range of styles and amenities as the resorts they’re connected to. In some cases, each employee gets their own private studio apartment, complete with its own kitchen and bathroom. In others, each employee may have their own room connected to shared living space, or you may have a bed in a hostel-style dormitory, with multiple beds in each room. 

Something else to keep in mind is that “housing offered” doesn’t always mean “housing included.” You may need to pay rent for the space, or have the cost of lodging deducted from your paychecks. The cost of the housing is still usually fairly low in these situations, and significantly less than you’d pay to stay on the property as a guest, but don’t assume that housing is free just because it’s offered. 

Just like other details of a new job, it’s important to learn specifics about the employee housing before you accept the position. The end of a job interview is a good time to ask questions about the employee housing situation.  


Benefits of living in employee housing

You get to live in a beautiful, fun-filled location. 

Resorts don’t get built in places that are boring or ugly. For the business to be successful, it needs to be in a place people want to visit. Often, resorts that offer employee housing are in fairly isolated areas surrounded by nature, with ample opportunities for hiking, skiing, surfing, fishing, and other outdoor recreation. Others may be located in cities that are hubs of culture and entertainment. The point is, the place you’re working is a destination for a reason, and you’ll get to experience that full time when you live on-site.


It’s convenient.

Anyone who’s done a lot of traveling knows how stressful it can be to find and secure affordable short-term accommodations. On-site housing services solve that problem. Employee housing is also usually located right on the resort property, cutting your work commute down to a few minutes’ walk rather than a potentially lengthy drive to an isolated resort. 


It saves you money.

Lodging is typically the most significant expense for any vacation, especially if you’re planning to stay somewhere for a month or longer. While employee housing isn’t always free, as we mentioned, it’s still a lot more affordable than the other options that will be located in a resort area (if there even are other options). Jobs at resorts also often come with bonus perks, like free lift tickets or discounts at nearby attractions and restaurants. Some employee lodging packages even come with meals included, though this is relatively rare. 


You’ll make a lot of new friends.

When people both live and work together, they tend to form pretty close bonds fairly quickly. The community of fellow adventurers you’ll meet working and living at a resort can be an especially great perk for solo travelers, keeping you from getting lonely and giving you people to attend events and activities with. 


Downsides of employee housing

You usually can’t bring family or pets with you.

There are exceptions to this rule, but in many cases, employee housing is for employees only. That’s not a problem if you’re traveling with a spouse or sibling who also plans to work, but if you’re hoping to bring the kids with you while you work as a housekeeper in a beach resort, you may need to rethink those plans. The same goes for pets, who are often not allowed in employee rooms due to noise, health and safety regulations, allergies, and other potential problems. 


You may make less than you would working elsewhere.

The landscape and atmosphere around resorts is enticing enough that they usually don’t need to try too hard to get staff. The average salary for resort roles that include housing is fairly low, especially when it comes to seasonal positions that are popular with college students and young travelers. 


The living conditions may not be ideal.

Employee housing is often near the resort, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be living in the same kind of luxury as the guests. You’ll likely need to make do with a fairly small space and may be sharing your kitchen, bathroom, or even sleeping space with strangers. Some people don’t mind this, but it’s not for everyone, and privacy and silence can be hard to come by. If you’re accustomed to living alone, do a bit of soul-searching about whether you’ll be comfortable living in close quarters with a bunch of other people for a few months before you commit to the job, especially if the company you’re working for uses boarder-style housing.


Tips for choosing a housing-included resort job

The first step to finding your ideal resort job is to decide what type of location you’re interested in. For some people, this may be more about an activity than a particular state or country, say if you want to find a place you can snowboard in your free time, or somewhere close to water so you can go rafting and fishing. 

Closely related to the location is the question of what season you want to work there during. Some resorts are year-round destinations, while others are only open a few months out of the year. The summer months are peak season for many resorts in the US. The winter is a busy time for many resorts, too, especially around the holiday season when many people go on vacation.

Another thing you want to consider is the size of resort you want to work at. Large multi-location resort chains will have a very different work environment than that of a small family-run property, and each has its pros and cons. Larger chains can often afford to pay better, for one thing, and the partner discounts and other perks they offer employees are normally better, too. These jobs are also more readily available since larger properties need more people to keep them running. That said, the work environment can feel a bit impersonal. A smaller property will usually have a more close-knit staff, but also a smaller revenue, and the salaries they pay often reflect that.

The final piece of this puzzle is what you’ll do while you’re there. Many resort jobs don’t require any previous experience or training. Housekeepers are going to be needed just about anywhere you want to work, and is a good option for those just starting out in the hotel industry. Keep in mind you don’t necessarily need resort experience. If you’ve worked in any food service business, for example, that could qualify you for roles like server or line cook. Experts in adventure sports or wilderness survival could take jobs as guides and instructors, letting you spend more of your time out in nature instead of cooped up in the resort. 

Take some time to brainstorm the top things you’re looking for in a resort job, as well as all of the relevant skills and experience you can draw on for a position. This will help you come up with some keywords, which you can search for on one of the sites linked above. Once you have a sense for what all is available in your area of interest, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about which job is perfect for you. 


The bottom line

Living and working on a resort for a season can be the adventure of a lifetime. However, you should go into the experience with realistic expectations. It’s not the same as taking an extended vacation. Resort jobs that include housing often also come with long hours, often doing physical work. As for the housing, it’s often communal and may not have all the creature comforts you’re accustomed to. If that all sounds like a fair price to pay for the chance to see the world without spending a fortune, a resort job could be the perfect fit. 

Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 55 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; CBD; Facility and Concession; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Healthcare; Hotel and Resort; Nonprofit; Restaurant and Foodservice; and Travel, Tourism, and Attraction industries.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a candidate.

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