Canadian Travellers Share Views on Hotel Staff and Service

Tourism HR Canada recently commissioned a series of questions as part of the Hotel Association of Canada’s travel intentions survey. This was an online survey of 1527 Canadians who stayed in a hotel in Canada in 2017.

We were interested in Canadians’ thoughts on:

  • The importance of service
  • Whether service quality had increased or decreased
  • How they valued hotel staff availability
  • How they perceived staff compensation

Customer Service

Not surprisingly, customer service is important to the majority (77%) of travellers, although 22% were neutral, rating it neither important nor unimportant. It was most important to leisure travellers and travellers over the age of 55.

Importance of Customer Service

Canadian hotels scored well on ratings of customer service, with 37% saying the service levels were better or much better than levels in other countries, and 45% saying it was about the same.

Most also felt that hotel service was the same or better than what they received three years ago, with only 4% saying it was worse. This was supported by answers to a similar question we asked in 2015: it received comparable results, suggesting that the labour shortages in the industry are not yet impacting customer service, or at least not in a way noticeable by the customers themselves.

Service Levels Compared to Three Years Prior

Job Automation

Advances in AI and robotics have escalated discussion on the degree to which jobs can and will be automated. To what degree service jobs can be automated depends on how much customers value the ability to interact with a person.

The majority of respondents said it was valuable to have a staff person available during check in and on site, to answer questions during their stay. Leisure travellers were more likely to value having a person available, as were women and older travellers.

Value of Staff Availability

While respondents continue to want human interaction, whether their beliefs will hold in the face of evolving automation is likely dependent on how well AI can learn the human abilities to respond quickly and efficiently and to adapt to the wide array of problems hotel guests need help with.


We asked travellers if they thought three types of hotel staff were well paid. Over half felt supervisory staff were well or somewhat well paid, while about half felt the same of front desk staff. A majority did not believe that housekeeping staff were well paid.

Perceived Pay for Hotel Staff

In a 2017 survey, we asked travellers what they considered a fair hourly wage for a range of staff. The largest share of respondents felt that housekeepers and front desk clerks should receive $14 to $16 an hour. A significant share thought desk agents should receive $16 to $18 an hour, while a large share thought $12 to $14 was sufficient for housekeepers. Since these were considered “fair wages”, it suggests that travellers believe these two occupations are paid lower wages. Stay tuned as to how this changes after minimum wage increases in several jurisdictions.

Fair Wage for Hotel Staff (2017)

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