Memphis hotel industry struggling to find employees

Updated: Mar. 12, 2021 at 6:25 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A once booming hotel and lodging industry in the Mid-South took a hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But now that business is starting to pick up again, some hotels are understaffed.

“We’ve got people checking folks in and then serving them at the restaurant and lounge areas,” said Wayne Tabor, Metropolitan Memphis Hotel and Lodging Association President.

Multi-tasking is the name of the game, says Wayne Tabor.

At least for right now, Tabor is president of the Metropolitan Memphis Hotel and Lodging Association.

He said hotels are once again starting to see an uptick in occupancy, but may not have the staff to fill all job openings.

“You had folks that were laid off or furloughed not knowing how long this would last and no one believed it would last a year. Folks have gone on and found some other means of work and making a living,” said Tabor.

Tabor said about 75 percent of full-time workers in the hotel industry across Tennessee were laid off or furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During that time, hotel occupancy also went down from 80 percent to 20 percent in Downtown Memphis.

And although finding staff has been a challenge, Tabor said those in the hotel industry see this uptick in business as a plus.

“People see light at the end of the tunnel. You know now in a few months you’re going to be having some revenue in. You can pay your bills. You can finally put people back to work,” he said.

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