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.
April 2017 rate quotes were down again, albeit considerably less than March, but this continues a pattern of year-over-year losses in six of the last seven months. August and September 2016 were up significantly year-to-year, but rates have been flat or down since then.
The March and April year-to-year comparisons are somewhat complicated by the different number of weeks in each month. We take a more detailed look at this below.
Regional rate differences have widened. In April 2016, the Northeast average rate quote was highest at $52.11 — $9.47 higher than the lowest rate of $42.64 in the Midwest. April 2017’s highest average was again the Northeast at $57.27 — $19.55 higher than the lowest Southwest average of $38.72.
Looking at the 3 top tier brands in the top 20 airports, National continued to have the highest average quotes, with Hertz second and Avis third.
March and April Year-to-Year Comparisons
Provided by Rate-Highway, the rate surveys are used to compile the averages that are published here; in other periodic articles, they are conducted every Friday.
The monthly averages are an average of all the weekly surveys during that month. Typically, three of the 12 months will have five Fridays and nine months will have four Fridays. Any two months will average out, but we are watching the trends carefully this year to see how the summer business looks.
Recent rates have been weak despite strong indicators in other parts of the travel industry and the economy in general. April 2017 has five weeks and March has four weeks while the reverse was true in 2016. The weekly rates were quite volatile in the middle weeks of the eight-week period in question, so we are showing each week separately to give a more complete picture.
If the number of weeks had remained constant, the March decline would have been smaller while the April decline would have been larger; therefore, the year-to-year trend is not flattening as much as the published results show.