Government Takeovers of Local Power Companies: Better Service for the Hotel Industry?

By Steve Kiesner Director of National Accounts, Edison Electric Institute | October 28, 2008

Iowa is one state where a number of local ballot initiatives are asking residents if their city should municipalize, or more accurately, takeover the role of electricity provider. California is another. And in recent years the question has come up in Florida, Nevada, and New York and elsewhere.

The bait is typically lower prices and greater reliability. But government takeovers can't guarantee either. To make improvements here, we must look beyond local control issues and address the national issues that are affecting the country's electricity system. And this can only be accomplished through comprehensive national energy legislation.

Government Takeovers Pose Risks, New Costs

What the government takeover proponents don't mention is that many factors affect the price of electricity. Government control-of and by itself-will have no bearing on the price of power. The local government can artificially lower the electricity rates, but that only means taxpayers will be making up for it in another way.

In the distant past, when the majority of government-owned utilities were established, cities typically had access to cheap, government-owned hydropower. This ensured a low cost kilowatt-hour.

But today, long-term contracts tie up federal power for decades into the future. A newly minted government-owned utility will either have to buy or build its own power plants-highly unlikely today, given the cost and lengthy process involved-or turn to the country's unpredictable wholesale electricity markets to buy its power-just like the local power company did.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.