Travel revenues hold firm against financial markets’ summer of panic

Global business travel net revenue grew by more than 12% in July with leisure travel revenue up by 8.6%, according to new research.

The corporate travel recovery continued in July in the face of uncertainty about the financial markets regarding the August 2 US debt default deadline.

Bookings grew by 5.8% over 2010, while global average daily rates (ADR) were up by 6% over June, according to the study by US travel technology provider Pegasus Solutions.

The report, which includes extra analysis of daily bookings up to August 14, shows resilience in both the corporate and leisure markets despite the US credit downgrade by the S&P on August 5.

CEO Mike Kistner said the fickleness of the financial markets failed to make a marked impact on the industry.

“Unlike events that may put the personal health and safety of travellers at risk, negative and uncertain financial news did not compel travellers to cancel planned trips, whether they had already booked or not,” he said.

“Long-term strain could ultimately lead to a slow-down in the recovery, but in the short-term, it is events like earthquakes and hurricanes that will have the most immediate effect on bookings, though on a more regionalised level.

“It is good news for the travel industry that travellers failed to ‘catch’ the nervousness of investors.”

Global leisure travel bookings grew by 3.1% in July over the same month last year, representing a slightly slower pace than June’s growth.

However, leisure ADR grew by 5%, up from June’s growth level of 4.7% and two points higher than the year-to-date pace of 3%.

“The solid ADR counteracted slower booking growth to lead to an 8.6% gain in leisure revenue over 2010,” Pegasus said.

Leisure booking growth slowed slightly during the week of August 8, although the pace seemed to improve toward the weekend.

Leisure travel is expected to improve through to the end of the year in terms of bookings and ADR.

Global distribution system activity shows that corporate travel demand will continue to drive more bookings with steady ADR growth, Pegasus forecast.

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