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.
November’s nationwide weighted average ICAR quote was up $1.31 from a year ago. This is only the fourth year-over-year increase since we started collecting year-over-year quotes in 50 cities in June 2014. That month was up $0.14 over June 2013. In July 2014 (the month of high recalls), it was up $14.29 but then back down in August. In May 2015, it was up $1.97.
Looking at individual airports, San Diego International Airport was lowest in November and for the last 12 months — at $25.37 and $31.24, respectively. And New York’s La Guardia Airport had the highest rate in November and for the last 12 months — at $67.12 and $67.72, respectively.
As can be seen from the chart on the right, the three major brands were strongly positive and the five smaller volume brands were negative — or barely positive in Budget’s case.
The regional and nationwide averages we calculated are weighted by airport deplaning passengers but not by brand. So although the arithmetic average of all brands was up only $1.31, the three corporations must have seen larger gains because of the strength of their high volume brands.
The other noteworthy observation is the large difference between Hertz and the other two major brands. Normally the three brands quote within pennies of each other, but in November, Hertz was up almost $6 over Avis and National.
We drilled down to see what made this anomaly. We found that Hertz was quoting exceptionally high rates at the New York area airports in the Nov. 6 rate survey. The most extreme example was their quote for an ICAR for a two-day rental at Newark Airport on Nov. 25 or 26 (Thanksgiving and the day before) at $399 per day!
The next week’s survey showed Hertz quoting more than $10 per day higher than Avis and National at more than half of the top 25 airports. The Nov. 20 and 27 surveys were almost normal, with Hertz pennies above National, but both brands were more than a dollar above Avis.