Global corporate bookings grew 5.5% over 2012’s level in July, according to Pegasus Solutions, the world’s largest processor of electronic hotel transactions. According to officials, the promising increase in business travel was accompanied by substantial leisure demand that paled in comparison to strong gains achieved last year. The mid-season growth spurt in business reservations came after the corporate channel leveled out at prior year volumes at the end of the second quarter. Rates paid through the global distribution systems (GDS) also pushed past second quarter levels that had ebbed slightly in June. By month-end, average daily rates (ADR) for corporate bookings surpassed prior year by 0.3%, setting a year-to-date growth pace of 0.7% over 2012.

“The corporate channel has the tendency to set the overall mood about how the hotel industry is performing,” said David Millili (pictured), chief executive officer of Pegasus Solutions. “This summer’s solid leisure travel season, which has been healthy, has now been complemented by an unusual, but welcome boost in corporate travel bookings. Even better, the demand and rates are expected to continue through the end of summer and into autumn, and length of stay may even grow by almost 2% this month.”

Globally, the leisure channel came shy of 2012 levels by 3%. However, last year’s levels were 10.4% over 2011, which suggests July 2013 still enjoyed a strong and steady holiday volume. ADR increased by 4.9% over prior year, exceeding the year-to-date pace of 2.5%, and nearly repeating June’s record 5.1% growth. Ultimately, the channel will conclude summer with consumers having driven more revenue to hotels overall than last year. September will bring less reservation growth before the channel rallies one more time in October to nearly 7% beyond last year’s levels. (