“They want to be viewed as more of a travel company and not just an alternative lodging firm,” said Henry Harteveldt, an analyst with Atmosphere Research. “Our research shows travelers spend as much as 60 percent of their travel budget at their destination. So they want to tap into that very large revenue stream.”
“We have had some good conversations with them,” Munoz said in an interview. “It’s terrific because it gives the industry and our company the Good Housekeeping seal of approval” that should attract other investors. He declined to say if Buffett himself got involved in the discussions.
AAA forecasts that 48.7 million Americans will travel, the busiest Thanksgiving period on U.S. roads and skies since 2007, the year before the global financial crisis plunged the U.S. economy into a deep recession.
Here’s a look at what’s new this year, including several of the new options for backcountry-like experiences.
“We feel that Iran is one of the most exciting places that someone can travel to at this point in time, given the current climate in the country and what sort of changes have been taking place recently,” said Stefanie Schmudde, product manager of Americas and Middle East for the Downers Grove, Illinois-based tour company Abercrombie & Kent.
For years, I had dreamed of going to Bora Bora in French Polynesia. The lagoon’s glimmering turquoise, jade and cobalt blue waters, the overwater bungalows, the seclusion— for me, it was the ultimate bucket list destination.
“Our roadways are already at capacity. Our bridges and tunnels are already at capacity,” she said, adding that putting in a Metro stop is “cost prohibitive.”
While the hotels will feature West Elm furniture and decor, they’ll also showcase local crafts, artwork and food. “Each property will be very true to its neighborhood and its surroundings,” said David Bowd, CEO of DDK, the hospitality company that’s partnering with West Elm on the project.
I imagined hanging out at honky-tonk bars like the famous Tootsie’s Orchard Lounge, listening to country music and meandering along Music Row. Instead, I found myself in Tennessee’s capital city with my 90-year-old mom and my sister.