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.

>>With the sharing economy accounting for almost one in three vacation beds in Australia, the impact of Airbnb and Stayz is being widely questioned. But with hotel occupancy levels and room prices still rising, efforts by hotels and lobbying groups to restrict private rentals seem like an overreaction: AccorHotels Copes With the Airbnb Factor in Australia

>>Perhaps being bigger isn’t always better, at least when it comes to luxury hotels. When you’re bigger, the challenges can be, too: Marriott and AccorHotels Mega Merger Activity Created Luxury Powerhouses

>>It wouldn’t be a proper end of the year in hospitality without at least one more merger or acquisition, right? Choice Hotels’ purchase of WoodSpring Suites makes some sense as it bolsters its position in the midscale and economy extended-stay space: Choice Hotels to Buy WoodSpring Suites in Extended Stay Market Play

>>Airbnb is getting into the very business it has spent the past decade disrupting. Will Niido Powered by Airbnb usher in an era of co-living residences that encourage homesharing? Airbnb Is Getting a $200 Million Boost to Build Its Hotel-Like Apartment Business

>>HomeAway’s fee hike spotlights the shifting economics of the vacation rental business. Property owners are weighing how much of a cut technology companies deserve when making it easier for them to put heads in beds: HomeAway to Hike Rates for Rental Owners Despite Talk of Blowback

>>In 2017, politics dominated the headlines, which were built out of travel bans in the United States and the UK confirming to the European Union that the divorce would indeed proceed. Kick back for the upcoming holidays. We’ll all need plenty of energy for 2018: 25 Travel Moments That Mattered in 2017

>>It would be easy to dismiss a concierge as a relic of another time. But concierges are the secret weapon of the educated traveler, and when the job is done well, it is vital: The Modern Concierge Is Too Skilled to Be Made Redundant by Technology

>>Everyone wants a piece of the extended stay market, so it’ll be interesting to see how the new CEO guides Extended Stay America in this increasingly competitive space: Extended Stay America Gets New CEO in Signal That It Needs to Up Its Game

>>Corbin & King is home to some iconic restaurant brands so a deal that will see them expand internationally makes sense to us: Minor Hotels Buys Majority Stake in Upmarket UK Restaurant Group

>>Scale definitely helps hotel companies, but it comes at a cost. With multiple brands, differentiation is difficult, leaving plenty of room for smaller operators: When Being Boutique Can Be the Answer — New Luxury

>>Competing against the vacation rental incumbents is pretty tough, but Vacasa’s CEO believes there is more than enough business to go around, especially if you can offer owners and consumers something different: Video: Vacasa CEO on Competing in ‘A Ridiculously Fragmented’ Vacation Rental Sector

>>Luxury travelers are increasingly looking to vacation rentals for a different type of experience. This presents opportunities for both established players and newcomers: Luxury Travel’s Next Phase Could Be in Vacation Rental Consolidation

>>In the rush to smash together retail and hotels, brands have to focus on doing this with a lot of care and intention. Sometimes a brand just isn’t that important: Hospitality and Retail Join Forces But It Shouldn’t Be Forced

Photo Credit: A HomeAway property in Honolulu, Hawaii. The company is hiking rates for property owners. HomeAway