Hilton raises the bar on hotel wages


Hilton Queenstown is offering senior staff salaries about $10,000 higher than most local hotels are paying. 

The five-star international Hilton chain – which is opening two hotels in the Kawarau Falls Station resort before winter – is advertising salaries of $50,000-$70,000 “plus benefits” on the Seek website for top-level staff. 

The sous chef, assistant housekeeper and chief concierge, for example, will be on $50,000, the front office manager on $60,000 and the finance and food and beverage managers will be on $70,000. 

Local New Zealand Hotel Council chair Penny Clark confirms that’s about $10,000 above what three- to four-star Queenstown hotels are paying. 

Local hoteliers are “sitting there going, ‘Are they going to pinch any of our staff?’”, Clark says. 

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to have us all thinking that.” 

Hoteliers in her branch would discuss the issue at their monthly meeting next Thursday, she says. 

“However, working on the theory [Hilton] are a five-star, they’re only going to pick the creme de la creme out of our hotels because we don’t have staff at their level unless they’re going to train them. 

“They’ll import those people, I would imagine.” 

Mountain Scene understands Hilton has already snared one senior Queenstown hotel employee as their executive chef – Millennium Hotels’ Frederic Monnier.