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Resort Collection Outsources Call Center to Jamaica

Jamalo’s welcoming voice on the other end of the telephone brightened the cold January day. I was doing research about Resort Collection in Panama City Beach along Florida’s Gulf Coast. It didn’t seem to matter that he was 989 miles away in the heart of Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Perhaps, because from his seat in the company’s overseas call center, he could see the town and the Caribbean Sea beyond. Maybe it was his seven years of hotel experience talking—or simply that he was happy. “It’s fun here,” he said. “The staff is really helpful, and I feel comfortable.”

I felt comfortable, too. Frankly, more than a little disappointed that I wasn’t actually calling to book a vacation at one of Resort Collection’s 900 accommodations located in the 13 different properties it manages along the Florida Panhandle.

Jamalo is one of the 20 friendly solutions to one of Resort Collection’s biggest challenges: labor.

“People go all over the world to get their labor,” says Paul Wohlford, 56, who joined Resort Collection in 2007 and is now its vice president of business development and a partial owner. “We’ve had a lot of success in Jamaica, where there are very friendly, good, hardworking people, and it’s relatively close.”

Like many vacation rental businesses in Florida, Resort Collection has a successful track record working with the Jamaican government to bring in workers with H2B visas, largely for housekeeping positions that are difficult for seasonal resorts to keep filled.

Just as Resort Collection struggled with housekeepers, it also struggled a few years ago to find and keep reservationists, even at an accelerated pay rate. Then in October 2018, another whammy came—Hurricane Michael. With most affordable housing wiped out and the hourly labor force scattered, a bad problem became worse.

Paul Wohlford

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