I get a lot of interesting questions on the “Ask Lucky” page of the blog. Many of them I don’t have an answer to, unfortunately, and I’m fine saying “sorry, I don’t know.” Once in a while I get a question where I’m just truly stumped, though.
A reader just asked me the following question, which falls in that category:
Lucky, my wife and I are three months into a year-long trip around the world. We’ve mixed up our stays between hotels and homestays via AirBnB. As someone that is also living on the road, I want your opinion on a recent tragic event witnessed at a hotel in Vietnam.
A small child drowned in a hotel pool. We watched as a guest and a hotel staff member attempted to resuscitate the child. An ambulance arrived after several minutes and took the child for further care at a local hospital. Needless to say, my wife and I were completely shocked and traumatized. The imagery from this event not only clouded the rest of our stay, but will remain with us for a long time.
Have you experienced something like this? What are reasonable expectations from the hotel (a big brand)? There was no communication to guests. In the vacuum of official information, guests began to gossip.
I by no means wish to capitalize on this tragic event. However, I’m left with a feeling that the hotel not only didn’t provide sufficient oversight of the pool area, but didn’t respectfully communicate to guests.
First of all, what a horrible, horrible situation. Fortunately I’ve never witnessed anything like that before.
This really isn’t my area of expertise, so I’m curious to hear what you guys think about the above situation.
As far as the “lack of oversight” part goes, I’m not familiar enough with the situation to chime in (was the child supervised, was the hotel supposed to have a lifeguard, etc.?).
It’s the second part I’m most curious about, though, and where I can go either way. In the event of a tragedy, should a hotel be communicating to guests what happened? If so, through what means? Does this vary based on whether the tragedy happened in a public area where others saw it, or in private? I have to imagine that each hotel brand has guidelines as to how to respond in these situations, no?
What a horrible situation…