WESTBURY, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 22, 2010: A standard room...

WESTBURY, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 22, 2010: A standard room at the Viana Hotel and Spa. The hotel is billed as "feng shui meets green building" by the owners, the Mindel family of hotel developers.Under feng shui principals, a square headboard protects against evil and there are 9 panels, a number that represents luck. Credit: Charles Eckert

The cost of air travel has rebounded to pre-recession levels, and now it looks like the prices of hotel rooms for business travelers are on their way to those heights.

Hotel rates for business travelers in North America surged 9.3 percent in April, coming within 3 percentage points of the peak pre-recession rates in fall 2008, according to Pegasus Solutions, a technology company for the hotel industry.

“Rates in many markets are either continuing to grow at near-record paces or setting new year-over-year growth records,” the Dallas company’s report said. “Steady demand is the great enabler of this remarkable rate growth.”

For leisure travelers, rates increased 7.3 percent in April but remained below pre-recession peaks by double-digit percentage points, the company said.

STR Global, which tracks supply and demand in the hotel industry, reported that the overall average hotel rate in the U.S. at the end of April was $105.71 -- a 5 percent increase compared with the same period in 2011.

By comparison, the average U.S. hotel rate was $107.01 in August 2008, just before rates dropped for 18 straight months because of slumping demand and the faltering economy.

The Pegasus report predicts that rate increases will continue in the months ahead.

Photo by Charles Eckert

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