Travel Leaders Corporate Sees Europe Air Fares Dipping
By Theresa Norton Masek
August 13, 2012 11:22 AM
Travel Leaders Corporate says airfare to Europe is finally coming down while hotel and rental car rates are inching upwards, according to an analysis of its clients’ second-quarter booking data for 2012. The data indicates the average cost of an international airline ticket in the second quarter decreased by roughly 1 percent when compared to the first quarter this year. When comparing quarterly data year-over-year, the average ticket cost dropped even more, about 5 percent.
“For the second straight quarter, we’re seeing softening demand in the international business travel market that is directly related to lingering economic uncertainty in Europe,” said David Holyoke, president of Travel Leaders Corporate. “We are not seeing that uncertainty in Europe affect airfares in the United States yet. Still, we’re experiencing growth in these segments, as our clients booked over 3 percent more domestic air tickets and 12 percent more international air tickets year-over-year.”
The average international air ticket cost $2,174 in the second quarter, down from $2,290 in the same period last year and down from $2,197 in the first quarter this year, according to data based on a sample of over 100,000 actual bookings.
Domestic airfare costs increased roughly 5 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period last year—$534 over $508. The data is based on a sample of over 750,000 bookings made in the second quarter.
Regarding car rentals, Travel Leaders Corporate found that previous quarter-over-quarter decreases have leveled off slightly. “While overall rates increased slightly, we saw cost per day remain in check even more with our most booked rental car companies,” Holyoke said. “We also noticed business travelers appear to be holding their rentals slightly longer, as cost per rental has remained in check. Perhaps our clients’ customers are picking up their cars earlier and dropping them off later due to varying flight schedules. Regardless, we continue to see growth in this segment as rental car bookings overall are up roughly 12.5 percent year-over-year.”
The average cost per rental, based on a sample of 1 million bookings, was $134.69 in the second quarter this year, compared to $134.53 last year and $130.37 in the first quarter this year. Average cost per day was $41.09 in the second quarter, compared to $42.99 in second-quarter 2011 and $40.92 in first-quarter 2012.
Data of about half-million domestic hotel bookings and 32,000 international suggests rates are inching upward, as are the number of room nights being booked. “It’s no surprise hotel rates for business travelers are inching upward as various industry indicators have been forecasting increases for quite some time,” Holyoke said. “We continue to see more of our clients’ travelers booking affordable mid-priced hotels. The good news is the slightly higher rates are not keeping business travelers away. Our domestic hotel bookings are up approximately 6.5 percent. Internationally, bookings are up even more—over 9 percent.”
Domestically, the average cost per hotel night was $134.09 in the second quarter, compared to $132.78 in the same period last year and $133.28 in the first quarter this year. Internationally, the average cost per night was $215.81 in the second quarter, compared to $210.21 in the second quarter last year and $210.33 in the first quarter this year.