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As occupancy levels continue to rise, hotels are incentivizing customers to book direct. In addition to offering perks like room upgrades, free shuttle service, and complimentary breakfast, hotels are luring travelers away from online travel agencies with members-only rates. To read more, click here.

Analysts at Lodging Econometrics (LE) report that the upper upscale category in the U.S. Hotel Construction Pipeline is at 66,303 rooms/307 projects. About one third, 20,974 rooms/101 projects, have yet to make a branding decision.

Of the 45,329 rooms/206 projects that have already made a branding decision, the franchise companies with the largest room-counts are Hilton Worldwide with 15,061 rooms/78 projects, Marriott International with 14,381 rooms/56 projects and Starwood with 5,839 rooms/28 projects.

Hilton’s two largest brands in the upper upscale construction pipeline are: Embassy Suites with 7,150 rooms/36 projects and Curio with 2,693 rooms/16 projects. Marriott’s two largest brands in the upper upscale category are: Autograph Collection with 4,666 rooms/28 projects and Marriott Hotel with 1,998 rooms/10 projects.

California hoteliers are noticing a drop in transactions through the first half of 2016 after 2015 consistently broke records, according to Atlas Hospitality Group. Hotel transactions in the state have experienced a 56 percent year-over-year decline in total-dollar-volume. To read more, click here.

This August, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 151,000, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This rise was slightly lower than initially anticipated, as June and July showed stronger gains: 546,000 jobs were added in June and July combined. According to Reuters, the smaller-than-expected rise stems from difficulties adjusting the data for seasonal fluctuations related to school calendars. The good news? Leisure and hospitality added 29,000 jobs in August, on par with the averages earlier in the summer. For more information, click here.

Although July occupancy sharply declined to 74.4 percent, it was the second-highest July occupancy ever. It was also the highest room demand month of any month ever, with more than 117 million nights sold, according to Jan Freitag, senior vice president of STR. For more information on July’s performance, click here.

Despite mobile booking growing in popularity, travel agent usage is also up in 2016, according to data from MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers Survey. Use of agents moved up seven percentage points since 2013. To read more, click here.

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