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Big Hotel Chains Have to Deal With Very Real Risk of Guest Suicides

Excerpt from Business Standard

Mar 23, 2014 5:00 pm

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No one wants to talk about it, but hotels have to deal with the risk of guests taking their own lives, and the potential liabilities and brand hits following such tragic incidents.

— Dennis Schaal

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Danish Siddiqui  / Reuters

In a high-profile suicide, authorities say Karl Slym, managing director of Tata Motors, jumped to his death from the 22nd floor of Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok on January 26, 2014. Pictured, Slym looked on during an earnings news conference in Mumbai May 29, 2013. Danish Siddiqui / Reuters

The world over, hotels often play host to guests who check in for their “final check-out”, leaving behind problems for the hotel to deal with.

There are at least 50 to 100 such cases that the top five to six global hotel brands deal with annually, according to Bruce McIndoe, chief executive officer, iJET, a US-based global operational risk management firm. iJET, which also does security audits for hotel chains such as Starwood group, Intercontinental Hotels and Marriott, among others, also assists hotels in taking the necessary steps when there is an unnatural death in the premises.

In most cases, hotels go all-out to keep information such as the room number of the occupant under wraps. It was somewhat different, though, in the case of Karl Slym, former managing director of Tata Motors, when a lot of information got out due to his high profile.

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