For handling the ever growing network of various online reservation systems, there are the global consolidators, which consolidate the global travel data from various airlines, hotel providers and car providers. Such a system that aggregates and distributes travel related information to end travel management companies, is called GDS System / Global Distribution System.
GDS System is a centralized reservation system used as an ultimate access point by different travel agents for reservations on different reservation systems. It is a computerized travel reservation system that provides automated transactions between Vendors and travel agents who in turn provide booking services to the travellers. GDS works in 3 sectors namely, airline reservations, hotel reservations and car rentals. A GDS system connects all of these three sectors and a huge share of worldwide travel bookings goes through GDS and other consolidators.
The major GDS systems are Amadeus, Sabre, Apollo, Galileo, Worldspan, Abacus and Infini. These have links to the airline’s database and provide all links to the travel agents who are the primary customers. Basically it is a medium used by various travel agents to access the seats, rates and booking information related to different airlines. It connects various such reservation systems all together within a single entity and also connects them to various other GDS present so as to provide combinational services like flights plus hotels or hotels plus rental cars etc.
The association between single ARS – Airline Reservation System and the GDS is so advanced that the booking systems and the travel agents access availability and pricing information in real time. Whole process of searching and booking and generating the PNR, can be finished in in no time. In case of ARS, whenever a booking is made, a PNR is generated that contains all the journey details for that passenger. GDS also holds the entire data in that PNR, called user profiling whereas ARS contains PNR details for that passenger only related to that particular airline.
Author is a travel technology expert and has been involved in several travel portal development projects.