GDS global distribution system has a history starting from 1960s. First it was a method to track flight schedules, availability and fares. The first landmark in its history was when, Sabre and Apollo installed their GDS technology. This led to travel agencies generating their own flight bookings for their customers, while giving airlines more exposure for sales.
Then came the internet, which led to an avalanche of travel portals and travel websites. The main GDS providers (Amadeus, Sabre, Worldspan, Galileo and Travelport) built their own system to consolidate travel related data. GDS – Global Distribution Systems are shared their web services to travel agencies and travel technology companies to develop online travel portals, which can be accessed by B2C users, agents and corporate companies as well.
What are the advantages of joining the GDS Global Distribution System network?
It facilitates an unmatched virtual marketplace for travel inventory sellers like hotels, airlines, holiday package providers and car rental systems. GDS gives opportunity to even budget airlines and small hotels unprecedented sales exposure. Since more and more travelers’ book travel products and services online, GDS has acquired a big status in world travel industry.
In the present scenario, nearly 700,000 travel agents plug into a GDS daily to book flights, hotels, car rentals and holiday packages. GDS is now an international medium connecting travel bookers and providers. It instantly gives real time information on products, price and availability to travel agents and online booking engines, and facilitates automated transactions. The advent of online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia, Booking.com and Wotif has enhanced the importance and relevance of GDS.
A global distribution system can enhance hotel room bookings by corporate as well as leisure travelers, and, thereby, income by placing hotels on more travel supermarkets worldwide. Real-time rates and availability are continuously sent directly to the GDS. It’s a boon to larger hotels and resorts located in attractive regions that offer standard room types such as single rooms, double rooms, luxury suites, etc. The technology behind the GDS is older, there are constraints on the total number of unit types that can be dealt in the system.
In addition to GDS, you should also have a well-designed travel website and user-friendly navigation encouraging customers to book online. GDS global distribution system can be the backbone for inventory.
Impact of GDS on Hotel Booking Systems
In a recent survey, year 2015 set up a record for travel bookings through global distribution system. Around 62 million bookings were processed across various travel portals and online hotel booking systems. In 2016, its expected to cross 64.5 million as per latest projections. In terms of revenues $12.5 billion was clocked across all channels in the second quarter in the top 50 global markets, encompassing 69 million hotel room-nights. United States, India and UAE saw more absorption from OTAs, travel agency software and online hotel software.
Author is a senior business analyst and an expert in travel portal development and marketing strategy implementation.