Today’s Global Distribution System (GDS) is comprised of 4 major GDS channels:
The latter two, as of 2006, have been aggregated under the TravelPort banner. There are also a number of smaller, regionalized GDS connections including Abacus and Patheo. Included with GDS connectivity are hundreds of Alternative Distribution System channels that are effectively “hybrid distribution” mechanisms in that they provide web-based visibility to 3rd party merchants while “pulling inventory” from the GDS. These include household names such as Travelocity and Expedia and not-so-well-known sites such as e-Bookers and Opodo.
A single “switch,” Pegasus, provides overall system connectivity (Wizcom was acquired by Pegasus in July, 2004) and the industry is now seeing a proliferation of “direct-connects” to by-pass switch transaction and pass-through fees to mitigate acquisition costs.
Connectivity to, and marketing within, the GDS is vital to the success of any hotel and resort given that 17-21% of worldwide bookings are made by travel agents through this channel. To have access to the GDS, your operation must belong to a Central Reservations Service (though you could try to create a proprietary CRS) and that is where the Hospitality Performance Group distribution program can bring value to your operation. We work closely with a number of CRS providers and can match you with one that is appropriate to the distribution needs of your property.
Approximately 80,000 travel agents globally use the GDS. Hotel and resort “book-ability” has been an element of the GDS since the 80’s (see the HPG history timeline) and given the vast selection provided to agents, GDS marketing can prove extremely productive–particularly in an extremely competitive market or when your operation’s feeder markets are global. Working with our GDS marketing partners, including VAX and Unaira, and directly with the major GDS providers, HPG can create the visibility to give your operation the edge within the travel agent community.
Acronym: GDS from first letters of the words Global Distribution System.