Holiday Housing

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari employs a new solution for staffing shortages

In summer 2023, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari Park opened onsite housing for 136 seasonal employees.

“As we continue to grow, our employee needs grow as well,” explains President and CEO Matt Eckert. “The housing facility has really helped us build our seasonal workforce.”

The theme park participates in the J-1 Visa Program, through which inter- national students can work seasonally in the U.S. Onsite housing helped offset staffing shortages almost immediately.

“By the middle of June last season, we didn’t need to hire anyone else,” Eckert says. “I’ve been here for 25 years, and that has never happened before,” he adds.

The facility is designed for college dormitory-style living, with four people in two sets of bunks per room. Each room has a small refrigerator, but the main floor has a large kitchen complete with four stoves and large refrigerators. There are also several lounges.

Its first year, 13 different countries were represented at the housing facility, including Thailand, Columbia, Jamaica, Mongolia, and Turkey. The facility’s 136 residents make up a fraction of Holiday World’s 2,000-plus seasonal workers. While primarily used for international students, the housing does support some domestic students living beyond a 50-mile radius of the park. Holiday World also offers a transportation program to bus teenage and young adult employees from surrounding cities, including Evansville.

Future building space for more housing is available, but there are no immediate plans to expand, Eckert says.

“The housing we have now has easily surpassed my expectations,” he says. “We had very high hopes for the impact it would have.”

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