The jump is the highest year-over-year increase in reservation volume through the global distribution systems (GDSs) since August 2011.
Previously, January had the strongest growth this year, climbing +7.9% over 2012. April's solid performance over last year also established a year-to-date pace of +4.0% in bookings growth for the channel, which is dominated by bookings made for business travel. Rates stayed ahead of prior year by +0.1%.
"When we last reported this kind of year-over-year increase in 2011, we were quoted as saying the hotel industry is strongly influenced by the economy, but does not take marching orders from it'," said David Millili, chief executive officer of Pegasus Solutions. "At that time, we were dealing with the US and European economic debt and credit crises. Today, we're hearing one positive economic indicator after another, which is definitely inciting business and leisure travelers to book. And, we expect them to book for the foreseeable future."
The global leisure market also returned an impressive performance in April, surging ahead of April 2012 bookings by +6.2%. Even with a boost from the Easter holiday last April, similar to the boost in March of this year, April 2013 set a solid year-to-date growth pace of +5.4%. Rates for the channel, reflective of online bookings made by consumers, lifted +1.2% over 2012.
Looking forward, global corporate booking volumes are expected to stay close to prior year through summer, potentially making gains in June. Rates for the channel will likely climb at a modest margin over 2012 through summer. Leisure reservations evidence increased travel through summer with potential for double-digit gains in July and August, as rates for the channel are expected to stay close to or above prior year through August.
Data reported by Pegasus Solutions comes from billions of transactions processed monthly for nearly 100,000 hotels, facilitating more than $16 billion a year.