Hospitality

Beau Benton, CEO of LBA Properties, an Alabama-based hotel management company, speaks about the need for more employees to serve Dothan’s booming hospitality industry.

On any given day, almost half of the people in Dothan are visitors, according to local officials. And, due to that constant influx, the hospitality industry – specifically Dothan hotels and restaurants – are in need of more personnel to fill open positions.

To address this concern, Visit Dothan, the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and Southeast Alabama Works are hosting an inaugural Hotel and Restaurant Hiring Event at the Wiregrass Rehabilitation Center next Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., to help local hospitality businesses.

“We are struggling as an industry looking for people to come work in our restaurants, our hotels that we work to fill every day – that’s our job – to fill those restaurants and hotels with visitors, and we’re looking to fill those restaurants and hotels with employees as well,” said Aaron McCreight, president and CEO of Visit Dothan. “We hope to bring a lot of folks into this industry for good in this community.”

Beau Benton, CEO of LBA Properties, an Alabama-based hotel management company , said there are many opportunities in the local job market in hotels, including front desk work, food and beverage positions, housekeeping and especially maintenance positions.

“Whether you’re unemployed or under-employed or just looking for a career with upward mobility, I strongly encourage you to come out and meet with the companies that will be present,” Benton said.

At a recent media event promoting the upcoming event, Alabama Rep. Paul Lee said Dothan’s position as the healthcare hub attracts people from surrounding communities.

“They come here. They spend the night. They go to the hospital, use the hospital, use our facilities,” he said. “All of our business has people come in; people from all over the world come in to Dothan every day. In fact, the city of Dothan doubles in size each day…so that gives opportunity.”

The increase in visitors is also associated with tourists who stay or travel through Dothan. Tourism pumps more than $312 million annually into the Dothan area, according to chamber board chairman Cliff Mendheim.

“Tourism, hospitality, restaurants, and hotels are big business in the Dothan and Houston County area,” he said. “The most essential component of making sure that economic engine continues to run are the employees at our hotels and restaurants.”

Best Western General Manager Wanda Haden, whose parent company Ascent Hospitality owns 40 hospital across the Southeast, said positions are plentiful and offer potential growth opportunities.

Numerous Wiregrass businesses will be represented at the event with intentions to interview and hire potential candidates.

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