Boy, that's a lot of questions all embedded into one. But that is probably the most important; I'll cover parts of it. Maybe Kevin will throw some things in. And we'll save a little bit maybe for later, because I'm sure there is a lot of similar questions, but thank you. And I do think that is the question, obviously as both Kevin and I covered Carlo, we saw, pretty marked improvement, as we march through the quarter. And that continued into April.
In terms of the global data, I think the best way to look at it is against, a 19 comparison, because looking at it against, 2020, particularly right now, as you were in the early stages of the pandemic is relatively useless.
And so, if you look at January and February, you were globally and the U.S. was similar, if you look at it, you were sort of in the 55% to 60%, down from a RevPAR power point of view. And you picked up about 10 points, going down into the -- sort of the mid 40s down in March. And then, in April, you had another step up and into the low 40s. Obviously, made a little early to say but I would say that trajectory in our mind continues if we look at forward bookings both.
On the leisure transient side, which is what's going to dominate the second quarter, it feels like we're going to continue marching on.
If you look at it by segments, which I you know, obviously, it's been a lot of time and this will sort of get to some of our views on the business transient and the group side.
If you look at it, you break down room nights by segments relative to 2019. Again, I'm focusing on room nights to sort of take rate for the moment out of it. Leisure in the first quarter was already close to 90% of 19. By the way, for what it's worth, much lower based on lower rated business, but just again, room nights. And business was about 50% in the first quarter, again, lower if you look at it, on a RevPAR basis. And group was about 35 to 40.
As you march through, our expectations for the year, our belief is globally and every region will be a little bit different. And I'll save a regional question for somebody else, because I don't want to do too much of a filibuster on one question. But if you march through, the year, my expectation is, you're going to have an incredibly robust, leisure driven summer.
So we're going to continue to see good progress. We believe the summer will be meaningfully over 2019 peak levels of leisure demand as we get into the fall and every day, you're reading the same things I'm reading, but I'm also as I'm sure you are talking to a lot of CEOs of large companies that we deal with or that are friends of mine. And I think, clearly, as you get into the summer, many people are starting to bring folks back in the office, certainly, as you get into the fall, all things, sort of being equal in terms of trajectory, vaccination, most businesses are going to be bringing folks back maybe not fully, probably not fully, but on some flexible basis. But a whole lot different than what we've been experiencing. We do believe that and we do see it both in China, as I said in my prepared comments, we do see it in parts of the United States, where restrictions have been lifted earlier, I mentioned in my prepared comments, business travel volumes already 75% of what they were in '19 in those markets.
So I think it is -- even though not fully through it not fully open anywhere, I think it is really good evidence that as people get back to work as kids in the fall, go back-to-school, which at this point, I think is very highly likely you are going to see a step change into the third and fourth quarter in business transients. I also see it in our booking pace on the group side that you will see a pretty good step change in the group side, I gave you some stats, so I won't repeat them. At the moment, it is more Smurf kind of related business and small meetings in the second half of this year with the bigger meetings, really some happening but really those getting booked more into next year at a high volume. But we do believe that that we will have a lot of realized group business a lot more of it than we've been experiencing in the second half of the year.
So if you sort of jumped to the fourth quarter, recognizing Q2 is going to be largely leisure, Q3 is going to sort of be a transition on a room night basis.
Our forecasting, which is all it is, but it's based on a lot of data. And then based on sort of the current trajectory that we're on, we think room nights and leisure will be at 19 levels. We don't think rates will be back to 19 levels.
So sort of RevPAR levels in the leisure sort of in the low 80s sort of percent. We think business transient and by the time you get to the fourth quarter based on what we're seeing in markets that are recovering on a room night basis will be about 70%-ish. I'm being reasonably precise, obviously, but these are sort of our sense of estimate. And obviously, lower than that on a RevPAR basis, because we're still not going to have the all the highest rated business travel back. That's why it takes time to sort of get back to 19 levels. And we think group from a volume point of view could be halfway back to 19 levels. Again, it won't be the highest rated groups, those will start coming next year when we get to a place where we have the larger groups, association, etc, that are typically are paying.
So that's sort of -- that's how we think the year is going to play out. We think that, as a result, RevPAR levels every sort of month as we go versus 19 are going to get better. By the time we end the year, I think we could be back somewhere around 70% or something-ish of 19 levels on a run rate basis, which isn't all the way home, but is a heck of a lot, better than where we were and what I would say not to be pollyannaish about it, what I would say is, the recovery of late, certainly since we had our last call the recovery, the slope of the recovery has been steeper than what we would have thought in all regards.
Now, a lot of it has to come on the business trends, that we're seeing some as I described, not like we have none. And we're seeing a pretty decent up tick. But that is sort of a fall expectation. But I would say broadly, as you can probably tell from my comments, there's a bunch of data to support it, we think the slope of the recovery has steepened since the last time we talked. And thus, our reason for optimism, the things are on a good path.
You asked about fee generation that will follow and I don't think there's a whole lot more to say that, as the business recovers, so go our fees, that's how we get paid. And I do think sort of built into my expectations that I gave us sort of my view and our view of pent up demand.
I think there's a huge amount of pent up demand. And my guess is every single person that you guys talk to whether they run a business, whether you talk to him, they're a friend of yours, you see him on the beach, or wherever you are, that they're talking about needing to and wanting to get out both for leisure but increasingly needing to and wanting to get out for business and to congregate in groups. There are a lot of important work to get done in these group settings that I think after a while people realize that that is not possible to keep going without it.
So I do think there's a -- I think we're on a real -- on a very good slope, we need the vaccination trends and the infection rates and all of the fun stuff that we're all looking at, every minute of every day, because that's all the media is covering, obviously, we need all that to progress. But our view is, we're on a very solid road to recovery. Did I get most of what you wanted? I let a few nuggets for somebody else to ask about.