Despite Higher Travel Costs, Summer Getaways are Still in the Plans for a Majority of Families



    Survey Finds Even with Rising Gas Prices, Majority of Summer Vacation
    Trips will be 500+ Miles

    MINNEAPOLIS, June 17 /CNW/ -- A recent survey(*) conducted by Zoomerang(TM)
for Country Inns & Suites By Carlson(SM), Inc. reveals that, despite higher
travel costs this summer, a majority of families are planning on or still
considering taking their annual family trip. Forty-one percent of those
surveyed say they plan on taking a vacation with their family this summer and
another 28 percent are undecided, but still considering it. The remaining
third of consumers surveyed noted they will not take a trip this summer,
citing budgetary concerns. For families that still plan to get away over the
next few months, 54 percent will travel more than 500 miles and nearly 70
percent plan to do so by car.
    A recent travelhorizons(TM) survey co-authored by the Travel Industry
Association of America and Ypartnership also found that six of ten (59
percent) Americans who are currently planning a trip with their car, truck or
SUV this summer will not change their travel plans even with additional
increases in the price of gas. Visit http://www.tia.org to learn more.
    "Summer vacation travel is an important tradition for many families that
use the time together to reconnect and create lasting memories," said Steve
Mogck, executive vice president of Franchise Operations for Country Inns &
Suites. "The fact that people are still planning on taking their summer
vacations in these uncertain economic times is a testament to the family value
placed on these trips and a big reason why we're providing a special offer for
families that stay with us through September."
    To help families with the higher cost of this summer's vacation trips,
Country Inns & Suites is offering a special TravelValues coupon book to guests
that make a reservation on http://www.countryinns.com or by calling
1-800-456-4000 from now through September 30, 2008. The coupon book -- valued
at more than $200 -- provides family travel offers from a number of companies
including: Dollar Rent A Car, Thrifty Car Rental, Sylvan Learning, Scholastic,
Creative Memories, AudibleKids.com and Papa John's. For more information,
guests can visit http://www.seeyouontheporch.com, where they can also send
vacation postcards, get travel tips, and learn how sharing their vacation
memories can win them a three-night stay at any Country Inn & Suites location
in North America.
    Although the expense of today's family vacations was noted as the biggest
difference between the vacations people took when they were kids (57 percent),
the quality family time element of the trip was as important then as it is
today. Respondents cited "time spent with family members" (42 percent) as the
thing they remember most about past family vacations and "building family
memories" (41 percent) as the thing they most look forward to during their
current family vacations.
    One thing that is apparent from the survey is that, while families
definitely value their summer vacation time, they don't like to cook when
they're away from home. When asked what celebrity they'd most like to bring
along on their family vacation, more than half of the respondents (54 percent)
chose celebrity chefs Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay to make all of the meals over
Will Ferrell for comic relief (16 percent) and Miley Cyrus for road-trip songs
(nine percent).
    Country Inns & Suites offers locations that feature traditional
architecture and sophisticated residential interior design with hardwood
flooring, lobby fireplace and front porch. Each hotel welcomes guests with
excellent facilities that include swimming pools, exercise rooms and free
high-speed Internet access.
    Country Inns & Suites locations provide many amenities often found at
higher-priced hotels such as complimentary hot breakfast, in-room coffee
maker, in-room iron and ironing board and weekday morning newspaper.  Country
Inns & Suites By Carlson(SM) embraces the love of reading through their Read
It & Return Lending Library.  A variety of titles for all ages are available
for guests to borrow and read at their leisure at more than 400 locations in
the U.S. and Canada and Country Inns & Suites supports literacy efforts
through charitable donations. For reservations and information, visit
http://www.countryinns.com or call toll-free 1-800-456-4000.
    Country Inns & Suites By Carlson(SM) is part of Minneapolis, Minn.-based
Carlson Hotels Worldwide, whose operations also include Regent Hotels &
Resorts; Radisson Hotels & Resorts(R); Park Plaza(R) Hotels & Resorts; and
Park Inn(R).

    (*) Research study conducted online by MarketTools, Inc.'s Zoomerang(TM)
    service of consumers age 18 to 65+





For further information:

For further information: Joan Cronson, Public Relations of Carlson
Hotels  Worldwide, (763) 212-1418, jcronson@carlson.com; or Colleen Burns of
Axiom Marketing Communications, (952) 224-2939 ext. 25, colleen@axiomcom.com,
for Country Inns & Suites

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