While global year-over-year corporate travel growth paused in November, gains returned in earnest by December for a strong 2013 finish. October bookings essentially equaled the year-to-date growth pace of +4.2%, as November bookings came within -1.5% of 2012 volume. December’s reservations rose by a robust +7.4% over prior year. Global rates, on the other hand, had consistent revenue growth throughout the year and the fourth quarter. October’s ADR reached a 2013 growth high of +2.7% over 2012 with November and December’s ADR increasing over prior year by the same year-to-date margin of +1.7%. Both group and transient business travel are contributing to the progress made over prior year. While smaller meetings have gained popularity as a cost-effective way of accomplishing internal and/or more pointed objectives, large-scale meetings remain a valued venue for cultivating new business. DestinationMap 2013, a report based on a survey of approximately 750 corporate and association meeting planners, reported attendance has increased for the planners’ largest meetings. Those surveyed reported fewer events overall, but the prominent larger conferences are flourishing. Increases in both small and large meetings, with prudent management of trip length, kept fourth quarter global average length of stay on par with prior year. Trips booked in December 2013 averaged 2.15 nights versus 2.14 in December 2012, and trips booked over the entire year of 2013 averaged 2.13 nights versus 2.12 nights in 2012. Booking windows remained close to that of prior year due to the combined growth of transient and group business. Small meetings foster spontaneous bookings, while registration deadlines and early hotel and airfare reservation deals are a key consideration for conferences like ITB Berlin this quarter. The global average booking lead time for business travel in 2013 was 16.96 days versus 17.06 days in 2012. December trips were booked 18.30 days in advance in 2013 versus 18.33 days in 2012. Forward looking GDS trends Global GDS forward-looking data points to a positive outlook for the business sector. Bookings made thus far for arrivals January through April show a monthly increase over prior year of +5%, and closer to +9% for February. Rates continue to show modest growth at an average of +3% through the first quarter of 2014, with potential to pick up more in the month of April. Similarly, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) predicts spending by corporate US travelers alone will reach $289.9 billion in 2014, marking a +6.6% increase from 2013. The number of trips is projected to rise by +1.7%, to 461 million. US group travel spending is expected to rise by +6.5% to $124.5 billion. GBTA reports this growth is largely propelled by strong investment in international outbound travel. US spending on international outbound travel should jump a hefty +12.5% in 2014 to $36.7 billion after just +1.8% growth in 2013 and only +0.8% expansion in 2012. The meetings and events division of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, comprised of 1,600 event specialists in 75 countries, predicts a steady increase of +1% to +2% in the number of global meetings and events in 2014. Download the full report 'The Pegasus View for Q4 2013' at Pegasus Solutions (PDF 2.3 MB)