Government Takeovers of Local Power Companies Pose New Risks, Costs for Hotels

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

When uncertainty develops in the nation's power industry, and it certainly has these past few years, the prospect of the local government taking over the power company is sometimes raised. Takeover proponents promise lower prices and greater reliability, questioning the local electric company's ability to deliver what hotels and other customers expect-a reliable and affordable electricity supply.

But government takeovers aren't the answer. In the end, government takeovers of the local power company bring with them new risks and potential costs for hotel executives and all electricity customers.

To assure your hotel of a competitively priced power supply that is there when you need it, we need a national approach that includes three elements:

Government Takeovers Pose Risks, New Costs

Besides Las Vegas, ballots in a number of other communities looked at whether or not the local government should take over the power company. The results were mixed. In Florida, the towns of Casselberry and Longwood saw candidates who support municipal efforts win four of five races. San Francisco voters rejected an effort to acquire the local power grid. In Montana, voters defeated by a two-to-one margin a referendum that would have allowed the state to buy 13 hydro dams. And in early December, the city council of Corona, California decided to condemn the assets of the local power provider so that it could begin distributing electricity within the city limits.

What government takeover proponents didn't mention in these referendums was that many factors affect the price of electricity. Government control-of and by itself-will have no bearing on the price of power.

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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.