Hotels Need to Act to Secure Our Energy Future

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

America's electric companies, through EEI, have also been advocating for national energy legislation to address natural gas and electricity issues. Legislation is needed to help reinforce electric reliability, foster more effective, competitive electric power markets, promote a diverse supply of fuels for generating electricity, and expand our natural gas supplies and production. Legislation also must emphasize energy efficiency and wise use of existing resources.

Using energy more efficiently is one of the most important steps the hotel industry and the country can undertake in the short term to keep our energy supplies affordable. Although individual actions by themselves may not seem like much, the savings do add up when many complete them.

America's electric companies are strong proponents for conservation. The past decade alone saw the power industry's programs save the equivalent annual electric usage of 52 million typical American homes. The electric power industry is also encouraging the federal government to take some short-term actions to improve the end-use efficiency of natural gas. Power companies rely on natural gas to generate approximately 20 percent of the nation's electricity.

Through the government's Energy Star program, the government should promote the purchase of high-efficiency gas furnaces and boilers for those businesses and homeowners with less efficient systems. For consumers and businesses with newer equipment, tune-ups or the lowering of thermostats where possible (e.g., down to 120 F or lower on gas water heaters and below 68 F for gas furnace/boiler systems) should be encouraged.

The government can also "lead by example" by making sure that gas-fired equipment at its facilities is well-maintained, that new equipment purchased exceeds Energy Star standards, and that all thermostats and setback controls function properly.

While there are limited opportunities for reducing demand for natural gas in the short-term, there are longer-term solutions for assuring adequate natural gas supplies in this country. These include policies to identify, tap, and bring to market available known reserves and new sources-both here and abroad. It is this combination, greater energy efficiency and increased supplies, which will result in lower natural gas prices. It is important to note that the current natural gas situation did not develop overnight, nor will it be resolved overnight.

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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.