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Ed Walter, the president and CEO of hotel REIT Host Hotels & Resorts, announced that he will step down from his position, effective Jan. 1. Walter will be succeeded by James Risoleo, who is currently EVP and managing director of West Coast and Europe investments. To read more, click here.

Alternative accommodations and travelers’ safety concerns will continue to impact the travel industry next year, according to MMGY. New data shows a nearly 3 percent spike in travelers booking alternative accommodations. Read more here.

According to the recent construction pipeline trend report for the Middle East from Lodging Econometrics (LE), the total pipeline has 513 projects/136,683 rooms, up 21 percent by projects and 6 percent by rooms year-over-year (YOY).

For hotels currently under construction, the Middle East Pipeline has 298 projects/81,169 rooms, up 28 percent by projects and 6 percent by rooms YOY. There are 108 projects/25,783 rooms scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months, up 23 percent by projects and 20 percent by rooms. Projects in early planning, 107 projects/29,731 rooms, are up 3 percent by projects and down 3 percent by rooms.

Travelers don’t care much about brand reputation, according to a new report from brand management firm Sullivan and qualitative research firm 20|20 Research. The study suggests that hotels should highlight unique experiences they offer, rather than a brand statement. Read more here.

High currency values, an unstable political climate, and negative news coming out of the U.S. have weakened U.S. inbound travel, according to Brand USA. Intent to travel to the U.S. grew just one percent between 2015 and 2016, and missed its stated annual goal of 67 percent by 7 percentage points. Brand USA says the high value of the dollar is primarily to blame, but political news has had a negative impact on Mexican and German travelers. Read more here.

According to the recent Construction Pipeline Trend Report for Europe from Lodging Econometrics (LE), the total pipeline has 1,008 projects/161,271 rooms, up 14 percent by projects and 13 percent by rooms year-over-year (YOY), just a few projects short of Q208 peak of 1,022 projects/172,249 rooms.

For hotels currently under construction, Europe’s Pipeline has 502 projects/87,037 rooms, up 35 percent by projects and 30 percent by rooms YOY. There are 257 projects/40,060 rooms scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months, up 17 percent by projects and 15 percent by rooms. Projects in early planning, 249 projects/34,174 rooms, are down 14 percent by projects and 18 percent by rooms.

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