March’s Car Rental Rates See Quick Rise and Fall

With the help of Michael Meyer of Rate-Highway Inc. and Jim Tennant of The Tennant Group, Auto Rental News publishes monthly auto rental rate surveys for six major cities: Boston, Miami, Chicago, Houston, Seattle and Los Angeles. The rates are based on weekly surveys.

Analysis and commentary provided by Jim Tennant of The Tennant Group. This survey is dated April 9. (Click on the charts and graphs for a larger view.)

Rate data provided by Rate-Highway, a provider of revenue management services for the auto rental industry. Rates are an average of aggregator/OTA rates for all vendors present in the markets listed on the date of the survey.
Rate data provided by Rate-Highway, a provider of revenue management services for the auto rental industry. Rates are an average of aggregator/OTA rates for all vendors present in the markets listed on the date of the survey.

March saw a sharp rise in rates from the first week to the third, followed by a drop back to first week levels at the end of the month.

The 6 City Average rate for March 16 was $52.94 — the highest average we have seen since late July 2011. However, as we have seen in the past, we must sometimes look at the results a little deeper to see the true picture. The March 16 quotes were for pickup from March 31 to April 6, so the Easter holiday had a major influence on these rates.

A look at individual cities shows that Miami accounted for virtually all the fluctuation. Miami rates started the month at $39.33, peaked at $88.05 two weeks later and collapsed back to $18.50 in the last week of March. Overall, March ended only $0.12 higher than February.

Houston and Chicago continue to be strong and Boston fell off badly, trailing LAX, the second lowest, by more than $6.

We now have 10 months of history and can begin to look at trends. February and March of  2012 are more than $7 per day higher than May 2011, so it is reasonable to assume that this year-over-year increase will continue and that rates will be strong over the summer.

These tables and graph show the average of all base rate quotes per day for an ICAR at the six airports shown for arrivals 15 to 21 days ahead of the date of the survey, for two- and seven-day rentals. If the arrival date is a Friday or Saturday, the two-day rate will be a weekend rate, otherwise it will be a regular rate.
These tables and graph show the average of all base rate quotes per day for an ICAR at the six airports shown for arrivals 15 to 21 days ahead of the date of the survey, for two- and seven-day rentals. If the arrival date is a Friday or Saturday, the two-day rate will be a weekend rate, otherwise it will be a regular rate.

For February's report, click here.

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