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An M&A wave within the Caribbean and Mexico is indicative of a trend. Three large deals were announced in the region last week: KKR and KSL Capital Partners are buying Apple Leisure, an affiliate of TGP will combine with Playa Hotels, and Chow Tai Fook enterprises is acquiring Baha Mar. To read more, click here.

Patients are increasingly traveling to and across the United States in pursuit of the best medical treatment. To capitalize on this, many hotel developers are noticing the benefits of building hotels near major medical centers, which are often barren when it comes to lodging. To read how one property, the Edge Hotel, is conquering this market in Upper Manhattan, click here.

The total global pipeline has 11,547 projects/1,953,784 rooms, up 6 percent by projects and 4 percent by rooms year-over-year (YOY) according to the recent Global Construction Pipeline Trend Report from Lodging Econometrics (LE), who tabulates the Construction Pipeline and Census with complete ownership detail for 196 countries worldwide.

For hotels currently under construction, the global pipeline has 5,417 projects/1,008,948 rooms, both within 1 percent of last year’s total. However, there are 3,514 projects/504,938 rooms scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months, up 22 percent by projects and 19 percent by rooms. Projects in early planning, 2,616 projects/439,898 rooms, are down 1 percent by projects and 34 percent by rooms.

Expedia has launched a Skype bot, allowing users of the messaging service to make or change aspects of their travel plans. Bot users can search for and make hotel bookings, as well as manage flight or hotel confirmations and cancellations. For more information, click here.

Lodging real estate investment trust stocks are being tapped as a viable investment option moving forward, with analysts saying that these hotels are attractive in the later stages of the lodging cycle. Their high margins, consistent cash flows, and potential for RevPAR outperformance make them attractive. Read more here.

In America, Great Britain, and Canada, digital travel consumption is on the rise, with 8.7 billion minutes in the U.S. spent on online travel research. Nearly one-third or more of online travel bookers in all three regions were influence by advertising. Read more here.

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