With the help of Jim Tennant of The Tennant Group and Michael Meyer of Rate-Highway Inc., we are conducting rate surveys on a weekly basis and providing analysis and comments where appropriate. We publish this monthly recap in our electronic edition and more comprehensive looks in the print editions.
The year-over-year increases that began in November 2012 flattened in March and turned slightly negative in April. However, as we observed last month, a closer examination of the individual cities and the weekly quotes raised the possibility that the downturn was only temporary and not the start of a new trend.
Sure enough, in May 2013, the six-city average rate quotes were up $9.33 over May 2012. Each of the six cities showed a significant increase, something that has happened only once before since we started this survey. Seattle showed a remarkable $20.98 increase, surely good news for its Seattle RAC managers after the disheartening decreases in the summer of 2012.
Top 50 Market Analysis
When we started these surveys two years ago, it was our intention to provide Auto Rental News readers with a look at rates and rate trends in a small sample of cities that covered most types of airport markets. We understood that six cities could not be representative of the market in a statistically significant way, but we felt that the look provided would be useful.
Based on feedback from readers, we can say that it has been. However, this column has become very widely followed not only by industry members and by those outside the industry, but also by those who follow it closely such as investment analysts.
Therefore, we have decided to start surveying a much broader sample of cities. Starting in mid-May, Rate-Highway began pulling rates for the top 50 airport markets. We will not be able to provide a meaningful analysis until we have 13 months of data from the 50 cities, so we will continue the six-city survey for a year and will occasionally compare the 50-city month-to-month changes with the six-city ones.