First Free Story (1 of 3)

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Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines hospitality.

For all of our weekend roundups, go here.

>>Airbnb is booming in Africa, but the first cracks in the success story are beginning to show – in hotels griping about the lack of regulations, and locals priced out of prime property. Can African cities avoid the side effects of the sharing economy that already blight more-developed markets? Airbnb Growth in Southern Africa Raises Familiar Issues

>>Combining NH Hotels with another company makes plenty of sense. It would give it added scale and might also help put an end to its shareholder infighting. Of course this is only the opening move in what is likely to be a time-consuming process and given NH’s recent history we’re sure that it will be anything but straightforward: Barceló Looks to Create Spanish Hotel Giant With Bid for Rival NH

>>Let’s do some math, first: How do you calculate 20x growth when you’re not given a baseline for comparison? Our guess is whatever that adds up to, it may not be very much: Airbnb Touts Growth of Trips for Foodies, Millennials and Solo Travelers

>>That AccorHotels is using the Internet of Things and other innovative tech to create more personalized and accessible guest rooms is an idea we can definitely get behind. But we wonder what the company’s plans might be to incorporate loyalty into the initiative. It would be crucial in adding value for Accorhotels, property owners, and guests: AccorHotels Is Working on a Smart Room That’s Accessible and Personalized

>>While Blecharczyk wouldn’t say anything about Airbnb’s impending IPO, he did reveal some interesting perspectives on how and where he sees the $31 billion company continuing to grow: Video: Airbnb Co-Founder on Evolving to Be More Than Just a Travel Business

Photo Credit: An Airbnb user looking at Airbnb Trips. The company says this product is a success thus far. Airbnb