Car Rental Rates Stay Strong But Increases Slowing

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 airports in the cities of Boston (BOS), Miami (MIA), Chicago (ORD), Houston (HOU), Seattle (SEA) and Los Angeles (LAX). The rates are based on weekly surveys and are published monthly.

Analysis and commentary provided by Jim Tennant of The Tennant Group. This survey is dated Feb. 4. There will also be a session on rates and rate management at the next Car Rental Show, April 15-16, 2013 at the Rio in Las Vegas.

Click to enlarge. 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.
Click to enlarge. 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.

The March 2013 6-city average rate quotes continued to be higher than a year earlier, up $3.47 from March 2012. The five weekly quotes which make up the monthly average were interesting: The year-over-year changes by week were (in chronological order) +$11.99, +$13.75, -$5.40, -$3.66 and +$0.65. This may signal an end to the substantial year-over-year increases that we have seen for the last five months.

Houston’s almost stratospheric rates in early 2012 have come back to a level comparable with other cities, a large decease from a year ago. Chicago’s rate run-up of a few months ago has ended – its rates are also back to more normal levels.

Miami continued to be very strong, but this year’s early Easter and accompanying spring breaks may have strengthened March’s quotes. (Easter occurs in March only about 22% of the time.)

Rate Change Comparisons Year-On-Year

 July-12Aug-12Sept-12Oct-12Nov-12Dec-12Jan-13Feb-13Mar-13
BOS (16.74) (0.21) 1.14 1.52 10.11 24.44 12.32 10.52 9.02
MIA (24.27) (11.98) (6.02) (9.79) (7.28) 11.67 5.74 8.24 12.74
ORD (2.86) 22.96 6.24 10.64 28.72 37.24 12.14 6.81 3.02
HOU (5.01) (6.54) (9.46) (4.50) (2.88) 2.88 (2.76) (14.00) (15.78)
SEA (23.25) (22.59) (2.29) 0.53 7.10 19.31 4.90 8.65 4.16
LAX 1.90 (7.87) (5.50) (7.91) 4.11 9.64 5.29 11.73 7.63
6-City Avg. (11.71) (4.37) (2.65) (1.58) 6.65 17.53 6.27 5.32 3.47

This chart compares rate changes by month over the previous year. So July-12 data reflects rate change over July 2011.

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.

View all our rate surveys here.

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