Haven't found a link to a good news article, but time is tight, so we'll at least describe a strange business model- the travel agency/ hotel room arbitrageur. This weekend we sat for some noodles with a friend who works for a Hong Kong-based travel agency. After a brief conversation about stock market day traders, our conversation moved into something totally unexpected- hotel room trading.
It turns out that some travel agencies take part in what effect is a market for hotel rooms in Hong Kong. Large brokers/market makers buy large blocks of rooms from hotels, and then resell them to travel agencies and other brokers. This we already knew. But what's more is that many travel agencies also attempt to 'trade' rooms at the same time. If well done, this can be very profitable. This is because the going rate for various rooms can change day by day, sometimes dramatically. Thus if you buy a block for one price, there is a chance that you can later sell the same rooms to another agency for a profit. Many factors can change the value of rooms, such as weather, upcoming festivals, conventions, airfare promotions, etc.
Thus our friend was explaining how part of his job involved checking for a wide variety of factors which could influence room rates. And if he found a batch of 'under-priced' rooms, which could increase in value due to an upcoming large convention (perhaps the hotel is right near the convention center), on the side his company would try to buy the rooms and make money selling them, not too tourists, but to other agencies, once demand for rooms increased and the value of the rooms was better known. Pretty amazing work in our opinion, though of course we have no numbers regarding the strategy's success rate. Still, what's nice is that if a trade goes sour, you can perhaps sell the rooms for more than they're worth to an unsuspecting
retail trader tourist.