Pegasus: Off-peak driving leisure bookings

North American leisure travel outpaced global travel bookings in September by 1.4%, according to data released Tuesday by Pegasus Solutions. Overall, the leisure market saw leisure bookings gain momentum worldwide from the 4.2% increase seen in August, evidencing a surge in off-peak travel.

In the midst of the Euro debt crisis, Europe’s leisure reservations actually declined slightly by 0.5% compared to September 2010. Globally, average daily rates for leisure bookings increased by 3.0% over prior year, with North America jumping 5.0%, ahead of the 3.8% year-to-date pace. Outside North America, ADR stayed ahead of the prior year by 1.5%.

“The leisure market’s showing in September evidenced a move towards off-peak travel by consumers,” said Mike Kistner, chief executive officer of Pegasus Solutions. “It’s not a month we usually would expect to see leisure gains, but efforts to make travel dollars go farther by travelling during the traditional ‘off-season’ made bookings jump, especially in North America. Hoteliers for their part resisted deep discounting following the summer peak season, and as a result drove more revenue as leisure bookings poured in at more moderate, off-peak rates.”

The corporate market continued to grow over prior year, registering a 6.1% increase in global GDS channel bookings; this was slower than August’s uptick of 10.2%, but ahead of July’s 5.8% pace. Rates remained positive, rising by 3.5% globally over 2010. Looking forward, corporate bookings and rates are both expected to continue beating prior year figures through the fourth quarter, with the potential for slower booking growth combined with a rate uptick come January.