Business profiles: Audia Ricker, Smoky Creek Cabin Rentals

ZZ Audia Ricker

Audia Ricker/photo by Jim Eastin

Audia Ricker is small of stature, but she has the energy of any 10 people you can name. She needs the energy since she is the manager, marketing director and sales engine that drives Smoky Creek Cabin Rentals.

Always a bundle of energy and looking to see the inner beauty of people, Audia did not begin her career in sales and marketing. Her background was in broadcasting. Her first career was with NBC and CBS in Florida writing news stories and editing videos. However, 20 years ago she came on a vacation to the Smokies with her kids and loved it. “I knew this is where I wanted to be,” she says. “I saw a newspaper ad for a wedding coordinator and cabin rentals and I applied for the job.”

Instead of keeping all her wedding business in-house, she started working with the wedding industry in Sevier County to promote the area as a wedding destination and she is big on promoting area attractions and events.

“It is all about customer service. There are many places to rent a cabin. What I do is make sure I know what you need and provide it. For example, if you don’t have long to stay, I will mail the key code so you don’t have to come to the office. If you have pets, I recommend pet friendly cabins and pet friendly restaurants. I try to makes sure my guests know where to shop, board their dogs, places to take their kids in the park, where to go tubing and horseback riding. I work with area attractions because I believe in a model where everybody works together and everybody wins.”

In 2010 she started working with Chuck McGinnis, an entrepreneur who had his own cabin rental business. Their cabins are mostly set in Wears Valley and Gatlinburg, featuring luxury accommodations in idyllic settings like streams or other natural areas so people can fish, build fires in fire pits and see wildlife.

“I love nature and the outdoors,” Audia says. “Everywhere I have lived, I was always near a national park. I love paring people with the perfect cabin. It makes me happy to know that people will have a good experience and want to come back again and again.”

Smoky Mountain Cabin Rentals has 27 cabins that they manage from one to eleven bedrooms. Some have pool tables and other recreational items.

Audia lives in Wears Valley with her husband Tom, who works for Charter Cable. They like to sail, landscape and fish, appreciate their Zen garden, stargaze and be close to the national park. Their son Kenny is a chef at Westgate Resorts and daughter Bridget just graduated college.

One can contact Smoky Mountain Cabin Rentals and Chuck & Melanie McGinnis at 629 Glades Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 or call 877-256-STAY. Their website is and email address

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