Corporations welcomed the new year by booking more travel, according to Pegasus Solutions. After holding steady at 2011 levels in December 2012, January 2013 surged ahead with booking gains of nearly +8% for the global corporate market, a performance that was exceeded in the leisure sector.
Accompanying global growth in reservations, rates paid by corporate travelers increased by +2.1% over prior year. In North America, corporate bookings climbed +5.4% over 2012 as rates grew slightly more by +2.3%. However, business travel showed the most significant improvement over prior year outside North America, where growth was fueled by Asia. Reservations for all other regions combined surpassed 2012 by +11.2%, as rates inched +1.0%.
"We began 2012 heralding a climb in global corporate and leisure rates, despite a lull in booking volumes for both channels," said David Millili, chief executive officer of Pegasus Solutions. "But in 2013, we have seen growth in bookings and rates for both corporate and leisure segments. Companies were anxious to get to business in January, while some consumers rallied for New Year's, and others made the most of more affordable off-peak travel. The real question was which hotels positioned rates to reap the most profit from those bookings that came through a diverse range of channels."
Leisure bookings, which are those made predominantly through online channels, including mobile, also delivered a slight rate increase of +1.8% over 2012 in January. North America saw volumes grow significantly by +9.8% as rates delivered gains of +4.6%. Elsewhere, bookings moved from a dramatic drop of -10.8% in December 2012 to coming within -2.7% of prior year in January. Rates also narrowed the gap against prior year from -6.4% in December 2012 to within -2.5% of last year in January.
Looking forward, global corporate bookings are expected to continue strong growth over 2012 into May, though at more moderate margins for most months. These bookings show rates will deliver marginal growth through March, potentially softening in April and May against prior year. Leisure bookings will likely sustain January's momentum through March, perhaps easing in April but possibly approaching gains of +10% over prior year in May.
Data reported by Pegasus Solutions comes from billions of transactions processed monthly for nearly 100,000 hotels, facilitating more than $16 billion a year. The Pegasus View, produced quarterly, is the only industry report to reflect data drawn from both GDS and ADS transactions, representing the business and leisure markets respectively. Pegasus' recently introduced PegasusView Market Performance business intelligence is a monthly reporting product augmenting the global data provided quarterly in The Pegasus View.