We are introducing a new feature in this issue. With the help of Michael Meyer of Rate-Highway Inc. and Jim Tennant of The Tennant Group, Auto Rental News will publish a monthly rate survey and analysis in our online newsletter and a more comprehensive, historical look in print. For this edition we have pulled rate quotes for airport rentals in six selected cities (Miami, Boston, Orlando, Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles) for 2009, 2010 and 2011 to date.
First a note about the rates: The rates are an average of aggregator/OTA rate quotes for all vendors present in the markets listed. The rates are an average daily rate for one-, two-, five- and seven-day ICAR (midsize/intermediate) rentals at the airport, booked about two weeks out. They are base rates only and do not include taxes or other charges.
Average rates fell from 2009 to 2010 as the industry re-fleeted to near normal levels following OEM bankruptcies and the recession. We would have expected rates in 2011 to be higher than 2010, reflecting the difficulty with vehicle supply. However, rates nosedived in late Spring when rental companies were forced to hold fleet through the threat of supply disruptions brought on by the Japan crisis. A period of over-fleeting ensued.
Through mid-August of this year rates were holding at 2010 levels. Recently, we noticed a significant falloff of rates in our weekly survey, but we expect a partial recovery as we approach the long Labor Day weekend. However, rates may fall off further than normal post Labor Day, reflecting better vehicle availability and continuing soft demand.
Looking at individual cities, Los Angeles (LAX) was very strong in 2009, fell to the lowest average of the six cities in 2010, and has recovered somewhat in 2011 to date. Boston was last in 2009 and continues in second-to-last spot since. Seattle and Chicago are strong this year.
To keep an eye on current rates, watch for the monthly quotes in our e-newsletter.