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Consumer confidence in the overall economy and sentiment toward technology both fell again in February, the latest figures released by the Consumer Electronics Association show.

The CEA Index of Consumer Expectations fell 2.7 points in February to 165.3. Consumer confidence in the overall economy declined for the second consecutive month.

“Consumer sentiment slipped again in February for both the overall economy as well as consumers’ appetite to purchase tech — though some of the latter drop is likely related to seasonal factors as well,” said Shawn DuBravac, the association’s chief economist and senior director of research. “Despite wealth gains from national real estate values rising and equity prices continuing to climb, consumers remain subdued.”

The CEA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations, which measures consumer expectations about technology spending, fell 5.6 points in February to 77.4.
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The Short Term Rental Advocacy Center is officially a thing, thanks to a group of four online companies serving short-term rental operators.

The website is meant to be a resource for homeowners, property managers, residents, travelers and policymakers interested in learning more about best practices in regulation of the short-term rental marketplace. Airbnb, HomeAway, TripAdvisor and FlipKey formed the group in response to requests from users and local policymakers across the country.

“Short-term rentals are bringing tangible benefits to homeowners, residents, travelers, businesses and local communities across the country,” spokesman Tim Doyle said in a statement. “As short-term rentals grow in popularity, some communities are asking questions about how to regulate the industry.”

The group does not define best practices in the Las Vegas area now, but industry advocacy information is available.
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When the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual convention roars into Las Vegas next month, there will be a new focus on startups.

The association will be in the city from April 6 to 11, bringing with it more than 90,000 attendees and its new Sprockit program.
Sprockit, created in partnership with World Series of Start-Ups and Springboard Enterprises, will give 10 market-ready startup companies the opportunity to present their product or service directly to influencers in media and entertainment.

“We know that front-and-center visibility and facilitated connections are invaluable for early-stage innovators,” Springboard Enterprises Chairman Kay Koplovitz said.
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Companies in North America are more optimistic about business travel in 2013 but also bracing for higher travel costs only partially offset by modest budget increases.

Hotels, airlines and meetings venues will capitalize on growing demand to wield more power in negotiations with corporations that spend on business travel, according to travel buyers surveyed in the Global Business Travel Association Foundation’s 2013 Industry Pulse: Business Travel Buyers’ Sentiment report.

Buyers expect travel prices to increase substantially in 2013, from 4.6 percent for domestic economy airfare at $492 per trip to 8.3 percent for international economy airfare at $1,318 per trip.

Hotel rates will also increase markedly, the report said, from 3.7 percent for domestic hotels at $161 to 8 percent for international hotels at $297.