Holiday timing helps boost
 February global leisure bookings and rates

DALLAS — Valentine’s Day falling on a Friday helped boost global leisure bookings and rates in February, according to Pegasus Solutions.

Last month, online bookings for leisure travel rose +4.6% over February 2013, and rates climbed a solid +4.0% higher, according to the largest processor of electronic hotel bookings.

“Short-term shifts like weather, for example, and long-term opportunities like a holiday weekend make allocating inventory and setting rates a complicated science,” said David Millili, chief executive officer of Pegasus Solutions. “The hotels that benefitted most from February’s incremental demand were those that were able to ‘look-up’ from their on-site tasks long enough to increase rates accordingly for the Friday the 14th weekend.

Looking forward, March presents an opportunity to seize more corporate business, while April will once again be optimized for leisure with the Easter holiday.”

Increased consumer confidence and willingness to spend also contributed to leisure travel growth in February. Bookings through February show March arrivals down by -6.0% from last year, when Easter fell on March 31, then rising by +8.2% over prior year in April. Stays will be booked at higher rates worldwide, increasing at an expected monthly average of +5.0% for arrivals March through June, potentially reaching close to +7.0% in April.

Global corporate bookings, those made through the global distributions systems (GDSs), in February grew +1.5% over prior year, a slight jump from January’s growth of +1.0%. Rates paid for corporate bookings rose +2.5%. Due, in part, to Easter week, bookings thus far for business stays in March have increased by about +8.0% over 2013 before falling off by about -6.0% for April arrivals. Rates, however, will continue to grow, from modest levels around +1.6% in March to an average of +7.0% for trips taken April through June.

Data reported by Pegasus Solutions comes from billions of transactions processed for nearly 100,000 hotels through the only global hotel booking switch, which is owned by Pegasus. The Pegasus View, produced quarterly, is the only industry report to reflect historical and future data drawn from both GDS and ADS transactions. Pegasus, which processed US$14 billion for clients in 2013 alone, recently announced expansion of its global business intelligence offering with PegasusView Market Performance Analytics.