Industry NewsA Power Proposition: Transparent Energy Brings Procurement Expertise to AHLA Members

A Power Proposition: Transparent Energy Brings Procurement Expertise to AHLA Members

Working out of Transparent Energy’s Chicago Office, Business Development Manager Eric Wyman helps lead the business development team in their assignments with innovative buying strategies used to manage his clients’ energy portfolios and mitigate risk in the market.​ He is an experienced professional responsible for providing dynamic energy management services to commercial and industrial businesses with diverse facilities located in deregulated power markets throughout the country.​

Born and raised in Illinois, Wyman is active within his community: He is on his local Catholic church’s Parish Council and is a member of the Chicago Cannabis Council and BOMA Chicago.​ In his spare time, he enjoys being with his wife, 5-year-old son, 3-year-old daughter, and 1-year-old son and is a sports enthusiast.

In the following interview, Wyman discusses Transparent Energy’s services, energy price trends, AHLA participation, and the outlook for the hotel industry.

Can you give a bit of background on your company?

Since 2009, Transparent Energy has been helping hotels and other large energy buyers procure the electricity, natural gas, and renewables they need to run their businesses. Combining a proven process for optimizing energy procurement with online-auction technology and the energy-market expertise of our team, Transparent Energy delivers an energy-procurement experience that heightens competition for our customers’ businesses, driving down resulting contract prices and reducing exposure (risk) to energy-market volatility. Put another way, Transparent Energy uses people, process, and technology to provide hotels much better energy prices than any traditional, paper-based procurement process.

What innovations have changed the way Transparent Energy approaches its hospitality clients over the past few years?

Over the last decade, many energy buyers had gotten used to very low natural gas and electricity prices and assumed those prices would continue to drop. But energy is a volatile commodity, and coming out of the pandemic, prices once again began to rise. Whereas natural gas prices bottomed out in August 2020, with spot prices below $2 per dekatherm, they soared to over $9 per dekatherm in August 2022. With electricity prices tied closely to the price of natural gas, many hotels who have not teamed with an energy-procurement expert like Transparent Energy to stay abreast of changes have taken a major hit to their operating budgets.

The energy price volatility of the last few years has validated the necessity of Transparent Energy’s innovations in process and technology. By helping hotels get proactive about when they come to market (hint: you don’t need to wait until your current energy contract is expiring—in fact, that can be the worst time) and then making suppliers compete in an above-board, totally transparent set of online auction events, we get our hotel customers into great energy contracts that meet their operational and risk-management needs. As an added bonus, we can apply our same innovations to the purchase of renewable energy, something hotels can use to become more sustainable and meet their ESG goals.

How did you first hear about AHLA and what made you want to get involved with the organization?

The AHLA is the leading association for the lodging industry, and Transparent Energy loves to work with the top associations in each of our target markets. The AHLA does a great job of promoting the industry and helping its members succeed. Both we and the AHLA saw a major opportunity to bring the benefits of professional energy procurement to the membership.

How do you see the hotel industry evolving over the next five years? 

We see the hotel industry continuing to embrace sustainable practices and take the lead in leveraging energy procurement to buy more green energy and reach ESG goals faster and more effectively than peer industries.

What do you like most about being in the hotel industry?

The hotel industry is a lot like the energy industry. When you treat people right and deliver on your promises, your customers come back for more. We value the hotel industry for its focus on people and its embrace of innovation to deliver value and memorable experiences.

Kara Filer, SVP of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development, AHLA
Kara Filer, SVP of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development, AHLA
Kara Filer, SVP of strategic partnerships and business development for the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)