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Many major hotel companies have recently made a push for consumers to book direct, providing exclusive deals for those who book through a hotel’s website and showcasing the many benefits of gaining access to hotel loyalty programs. But according to a new report from Morningstar, the impact on OTAs will not be severe. The report forecasts that the book direct campaigns will produce a 1 percentage point headwind for the Priceline Group, a 1.5 percentage point headwind for Expedia, and a 0.5 percentage point headwind for Ctrip. To read more, click here.

Hawaii attracted a record number of tourists in August, topping 780,000 visitors and marking 19 consecutive months of gains. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, 3.1 percent more travelers came to the islands in August compared to the same month last year. To read more, click here.

As Hurricane Matthew moves north toward Jamaica, Haiti, and Cuba, people along the Eastern Seaboard are steeling themselves against storm-related disruption. Hospitality companies, including Marriott, are communicating to guests that they have precautions in place and will waive cancellation fees at some of the properties that may be affected by the storm. Read Marriott’s statement here.

SPOKANE, Wash.—Red Lion Hotels Corporation today announced that it closed its acquisition of Vantage Hospitality Group, based in Coral Springs, Fla., on Sept. 30, a month ahead of schedule.

As a result of the acquisition, the company acquired approximately 1,000 franchise hotel agreements nationwide and added over 59,000 rooms. The acquisition has accelerated RLHC’s transformation into an “asset-light” franchised hotel company. RLHC expects the transaction to be earnings accretive in the next 12 months.

“We are excited to have accelerated the closing of Vantage,” commented Greg Mount, president and CEO. “Our newly combined teams are diligently working on a smooth integration to capitalize on the strengths of both platforms. With a firm foundation and a deep dedicated team focused on select service, we can now intensify our efforts on accelerating the growth of our midscale and upscale brands, Red Lion and Hotel RL. The pipeline for legacy RLHC brands, including Hotel RL remains strong, and we look forward to delivering additional value and opportunities to all of our hoteliers and associates, as well as earnings accretion to our shareholders.”

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.—According to the recent Global Construction Pipeline Trend Report from Lodging Econometrics (LE), who tabulates the Construction Pipeline for 182 countries worldwide, the total pipeline has 11,260 projects/1,919,370 rooms, up 3 percent by projects and rooms year-over-year (YOY).

For hotels currently under construction, the Global Pipeline has 5,232 projects/986,995 rooms, down 2 percent by projects and up 1 percent by rooms YOY. There are 3,396 projects/489,503 rooms scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months, up 19 percent by projects and 17 percent by rooms. Projects in early planning, 2,632 projects/442,872 rooms, are down 2 percent by projects and 4 percent by rooms.

American Family Voices, a D.C.–based nonprofit, is filing freedom of information requests with 11 cities, states, and counties to learn in greater detail the tax deals they are making with Airbnb. The organization says Airbnb’s tax agreements make it more difficult for local governments to shut down illegal hotels. Read more here.

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