It looks like revenge really is a dish best served cold in the hotel industry.

While it's always a good idea to treat your fellow human being with kindness, failing to do so can end come with some nasty results according to a study from the University of British Columbia. The study found that when faced with rude customers, disgruntled hotel staff reacted with sabotage but the severity of that payback depends on where travellers are staying.

Researchers found that North American hotel staff lashed out at rude guests by giving them wrong directions or by serving them cold food. Hospitality workers in China on the other hand, responded to the same treatment with a lower quality of service to all customers.

“North Americans take a surgical approach to abuse, zeroing in on individuals who mistreated them,” says Daniel Skarlicki, a professor with UBC's Sauder School of Business and the co-author of the study. He adds that hotel management must be mindful of these cultural differences when expanding operations across the Pacific.

“Chinese don’t blame the transgressor. They blame the system — the company or customers they serve,” Skarlicki explained.

Using a sample group of 214 hotel workers from the same hotel chain — 132 in Beijing and 82 in Vancouver — Skarlicki and Ruodan Shao, the study's second author, found that despite the different forms of revenge, the number of people who would react to rude customers was similar. The finding showed 20 per cent of North Americans were more likely to turn to sabotage to even the score while 19 per cent of Chinese workers were more likely "to lose enthusiasm in their jobs" as payback.

According to Skarlicki, the method of payback fits his theory on Eastern and Western culture.

“In China, they are very collectivist. And sure enough, what we found is that they tend to cut back on service to all customers in general. They just simply disengage from customers. It’s very passive, it’s indirect. It’s not surgical [retaliation] like it is in North America,” Skarlicki told the Globe and Mail.

Other investigations into hotel staff revenge have also shown similar attacks on individuals instead of on the hospitality system. According to Good Morning America, those who failed to tip valets risked having their cars taken for a joy ride and those who mouthed off to hotel concierges could be placed in a sub-par hotel room without a second thought.

Have you found yourself on the wrong end of a disgruntled hotel worker? Tell us your tale in the comments below or via Twitter @HPCaTravel.

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  • 46. Cape Town, South Africa

    Total average cost: $19.60 (£12.61)

  • 45. Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

    Total average cost: $23.74 (£15.27)

  • 44. Mumbai, India

    Total average cost: $25.29 (£16.27)

  • 43. Istanbul, Turkey

    Total average cost: $27.22 (£17.51)

  • 42. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

    Total average cost: $28.09 (£18.07)

  • 41. Budapest, Hungary

    Total average cost: $28.37 (£18.25)

  • 40. Sofia, Bulgaria

    Total average cost: $28.60 (£18.40)

  • 39. Jakarta, Indonesia

    Total average cost: $28.66 (£18.44)

  • 38. Marrakech Morocco

    Total average cost: $29.58 (£19.03)

  • 37. Taipei, Taiwan

    Total average cost: $30.17 (£19.41)

  • 36. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Total average cost: $30.98 (£19.93)

  • 35. Lisbon, Portugal

    Total average cost: $32.11 (£20.66)

  • 34. Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Total average cost: $32.64 (£21.00)

  • 33. Bangkok, Thailand

    Total average cost: $35.53 (£22.86)

  • 32. Hanoi, Vietnam

    Total average cost: $37.18 (£23.92)

  • 31. Barcelona, Spain

    Total average cost: $37.26 (£23.97)

  • 30. Kiev, Ukraine

    Total average cost: $38.81 (£24.97)

  • 29. Prague, Czech Republic

    Total average cost: $39.36 (£25.32)

  • 28. Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Total average cost: $41.04 (£26.40)

  • 27. Beijing, China

    Total average cost: $41.43 (£26.46)

  • 26. Warsaw, Poland

    Total average cost: $41.19 (£26.50)

  • 25. Dublin, Ireland

    Total average cost: $41.94 (£26.98)

  • 24. Vienna, Austria

    Total average cost: $42.33 (£27.23)

  • 23. New Providence Island, The Bahamas

    Total average cost: $43.31 (£27.86)

  • 22. Rome, Italy

    Total average cost: $43.68 (£28.10)

  • 21. Athens, Greece

    Total average cost: $44.74 (£28.78)

  • 20. Seoul, South Korea

    Total average cost: $46.52 (£29.93)

  • 19. Macau

    Total average cost: $47.84 (£30.78)

  • 18. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    Total average cost: $47.92 (£30.83)

  • 17. Hong Kong

    Total average cost: $48.78 (£31.38)

  • 16. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Total average cost: $49.13 (£31.61)

  • 15. Sydney, Australia

    Total average cost: $51.43 (£33.09)

  • 14. Munich, Germany

    Total average cost: $51.81 (£33.33)

  • 13. Copenhagen, Denmark

    Total average cost: $53.25 (£34.26)

  • 12. Toronto, Canada

    Total average cost: $53.35 (£34.32)

  • 11. London, United Kingdom

    Total average cost: $53.41 (£34.36)

  • 10. Brussels, Belgium

    Total average cost: $53.72 (£34.56)

  • 9. New York City, United States

    Total average cost: $56.22 (£36.17)

  • 8. Singapore

    Total average cost: $58.32 (£37.52)

  • 7. Tokyo, Japan

    Total average cost: $59.18 (£38.07)

  • 6. Helsinki, Finland

    Total average cost: $63.85 (£41.08)

  • 5. Zurich, Switzerland

    Total average cost: $66.68 (£42.90)

  • 4. Oslo, Norwary

    Total average cost: $67.07 (£43.15)

  • 3. Stockholm, Sweden

    Total average cost: $68.35 (£43.97)

  • 2. Paris, France

    Total average cost: $68.66 (£44.17)

  • 1. Moscow, Russia

    Total average cost: $82.46 (£53.05)