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.

Tackling the Abuse Problem in Hospitality Head-On: Abuse of staff is a problem in hospitality. And too often, it gets swept under the rug. What will it take for a zero-tolerance policy to actually be enforced — consistently?

Did Airbnb’s Contrarian Narrative Just Get Messed Up? Airbnb is on a path toward spending as much as $2 billion in sales and marketing in 2019. When you consider that Airbnb will likely have to start spending more with Google as it adds more hotels onto its platform, then the company’s supposed competitive advantage over Booking Holdings and Expedia Group on that front appears a little less attractive.

Provenance Hotels Faces Backlash Over Founder’s Role in Trump-Ukraine Deal: Some political observers say Gordon Sondland sold himself out to President Trump to become EU ambassador. Now he finds himself in the middle of the impeachment inquiry as calls for a boycott of Sondland’s Provenance Hotels pick up traction. With the potential for huge impact on the company’s bottom line hinging on Sondland’s testimony, many will be on the edge of their seats Thursday.

Booking.com’s New Star Ratings for Short-Term Rentals Shake Sector: If you believe internet ratings, you’d think everything sold online is above average. Booking.com appears to be trying to combat that problem in the short-term rentals sector by rolling out a rating system. The company risks upsetting some property managers by acting as self-appointed judge and jury of unit quality.

Marriott Drives Deeper Into Luxury Short-Term Rentals as a Loyalty Play: Airbnb has nothing to worry about. Marriott is mainly interested in using rentals as a tool to build brand loyalty.

Airbnb Doubles Down on Professional Vacation Rentals in Resort Areas: The online juggernaut isn’t satisfied with dominating urban markets. Airbnb wants to take the beaches and the mountains, too, in the battle for short-term rental bookings. So the company is becoming savvier in how it approaches local property managers.

Marriott Is Buying Elegant Hotels in Barbados in Further All-Inclusive Push: Buying Elegant Hotels will add another seven Caribbean hotels to Marriott’s all-inclusive offering. It’s a sure sign that the company is taking this part of the market much more seriously in 2019.

Travel Agency Group ASTA Aims to Shield Hotel Guests From Resort Fee Pain:
The American Society of Travel Advisors’ show of support for the Hotel Advertising Transparency Act of 2019 indicates growing distaste among agencies, as well as the general public, for resort fees, particularly when they are not disclosed up-front. Such support is a logical step for the organization, which has long advocated for pricing transparency.

Travel Advisor Group Supports Resort Fee Transparency: Congressional legislation in the United States that would bar hotels and short-term rental sources from advertising rates that don’t include resort fees is getting support from the American Society of Travel Advisors. Advocating for transparency in pricing is an important cause for travel industry organizations to take on.

IHG Expects to Prosper Even if the Global Economy Tanks: A slowdown is coming — we don’t know when and it probably won’t be at the same scale as 2008 — but it will happen. A bullish IHG claims its business and its model makes it well-placed to ride out the storm.

European Vacation Rental Business Awaze Targets More Acquisitions: The vacation rental sector is still pretty fragmented with plenty of single destination specialists still around. Awaze, with its private equity backing, wants to change this.

Rethinking Luxury Hotel Design to Connect Guests With Nature: It seems like every hospitality brand these days is eager to jump on the wellness bandwagon. Most do so by adding a gym or throwing a yoga mat in the room. But some luxury hotels are taking a more esoteric approach, namely through biophilic design.

Redesigning Luxury With Mother Nature in Mind: In a growing luxury wellness trend that’s built to last, nature comes indoors in the form of living green walls, natural materials, and more at high-end hotels.

Photo Credit: Bartenders mixing drinks. There has been more abuse of staff in hospitality, an industry in which all too often such incidents are brushed off. Unsplash