All three have been buying up or making plans to acquire ultra-luxury properties that attract some of the industry's highest room rates - the market segment that suffered the least impact from the most recent downturn, comprising hotels that are the most expensive to replace. These tech billionaires are stepping up their investments in a luxury-hotel sector that many came to see as all but recession-proof; of all travel niches, it most quickly recovered from the economic downturn, and growth in room demand continues to outpace the rest of the industry. With travel spending on the rebound generally, STR Analytics said last month that U.S. hotel transactions surged 30% last year, to $16.9 billion. Meanwhile, U.S. revenue per available room advanced 5.4% last year, while the luxury sector's room-demand growth was about 2 percentage points higher, according to STR. "These are very smart people, and they can afford to be longer-term holders," said Adam Weissenberg, who heads the travel, hospitality and leisure practice at Deloitte. "Everything you see on the luxury end of the market has rebounded so quickly. The demand for luxury goods seems to have no end." Get the full story at Travel Weekly