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When power failed late in the afternoon of August 14, 2003, hotels in the northeastern United States and southern Canada were left without electricity for as long as two days. To assess the lodging industry's response to the event, a study of hoteliers was conducted by surveying selected participants in the Smith Travel Research database. Of the 147 respondents, 93 were from hotels that lost power and 54 were from hotels that retained power during the blackout. On average, the blackout lasted 16 hours for the responding hotels- meaning that guests at half the hotels being studied spent an entire night without electricity. Many managers considered the Blackout of '03 to be an aberrant event. Nevertheless, hotel managers should review their emergency plans and stockpiles of emergency supplies. The relatively high incidence of facilities failures and process problems calls into question managers' perceptions of the service quality provided during the blackout. Whether guests' perceptions match those of managers is a critical open question and one that deserves future research-ideally, before the lights go out again.


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