With travel costs rising and overall inflation putting pressure on the wallets of both consumers and businesses, many experts are concerned that spending could slow dramatically. And to be fair, that could be true. In fact, we're already seeing a slowdown in spending on some discretionary items.

However, not all businesses are being affected by the current economic climate. In fact, a major hotel operator and the world's largest mall company just reported results that gave investors a pleasant surprise.

Travel spending is still high

Ryman Hospitality Properties' (RHP -1.83%) latest results show that not only are travelers absorbing the higher costs, but demand remains strong even with the economic headwinds.

The average daily rate at Ryman's five Gaylord-branded hotels is at an all-time high and is a staggering 42% higher than in comparable pre-pandemic times. This allowed the hotels to bring in their highest operating income ever, even though occupancy is still a bit lower than it was before COVID-19 disrupted the group travel industry. However, it's important to point out that total occupancy of 71.5% was 17 percentage points higher than a year ago. The company is seeing strong demand from group travel with more than 614,000 future nights booked in the quarter, and is also seeing "healthy" leisure travel demand.

Overall, revenue grew by 52% year over year and adjusted FFO (the real estate version of earnings) grew by 83% on a per-share basis. Ryman's business performed so well that the company raised its full-year guidance. It's also worth noting that even if consumer spending starts to decline, the forward-looking nature of group travel (Ryman's main focus) should keep the business strong.

Think all malls are suffering? Don't be so sure

Many retail stocks have been under pressure -- including e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores -- as there's a major fear that consumer spending will slow down in the current inflationary and rising-rate environment. However, the latest results from best-in-breed mall operator Simon Property Group (SPG -1.92%) tell a different story.

FFO increased by about 2% year over year, impressive considering the environment, and net operating income grew by 3.2% compared with the third quarter of 2021. Occupancy at Simon's malls increased by 170 basis points to 94.5% over the past year. And Simon isn't slowing down its growth strategy, with two international development projects currently underway and six redevelopments of its domestic malls. With $1.2 billion in cash on hand and massive credit facilities, Simon has the capital to make sure its portfolio remains the best of the best. The company raised its full-year FFO guidance by more than 2%, reflecting its better-than-expected performance.

Thanks to the strong results, Simon increased its quarterly dividend to $1.80 per quarter -- more than 9% greater than the payout last year. At the current stock price, this works out to a dividend yield of about 6.5%, and since this only represents about 60% of Simon's FFO (a low payout ratio for a REIT), there is plenty of room for future increases.

Two rock-solid businesses with lots of upside

Both of these excellent companies are the best-in-breed in their respective industries (group-focused hotels and shopping malls) and show the importance of having top-notch asset quality. Ryman has plenty of room to grow -- after all, it only owns five hotels and its entertainment segment has tons of optionality. And Simon is trading for a rock-bottom valuation despite excellent momentum and financial flexibility. With both of these stocks, it's important to be prepared for some short-term volatility, but these are long-term winners that just posted fantastic numbers.