GDS is one of the best ways to promote your hotel in the global corporate travel market. For this reason, you may want to consider adding a GDS to your distribution strategy.
Here we’ll review the GDS definition, the two main types of rates supported in a hotel GDS system, the types of hotel properties that will benefit most from a GDS connection, and the three biggest players in the GDS realm.
A Global Distribution System, GDS, is an online system that delivers real-time hotel, airline, train, and car rental inventory, room rates, discounts, and more to travel agents and other businesses. The GDS system allows travel agents to purchase flights and book rooms for customers on behalf of the traveler. Some Travel Agencies also provide self-service portals (Egencia, CWT) to travelers that use GDS inventory but operate similar to today’s online travel agencies.
Many travel agents and corporate bookers still use a Global Distribution System to build customer relationships and book travel. Users have access to special negotiated prices that aren’t available on OTAs or other distribution channels, allowing them to evaluate and book the best, most affordable options quickly.
Now that you know the GDS hotel definition and how it works, we can dive into the benefits of using a hotel GDS:
The types of hotels that stand to benefit most from using global distribution systems are:
So, what is GDS in the hotel industry? First, you should know that GDS hotel systems are only available for authorized users who are licensed and registered and not accessible for use by the general public. This is because the GDS hotel booking system allows companies, such as travel agencies and corporate bookers, to book travel on behalf of others.
Still, GDSs also have the power and ability to send their inventory to OTAs. So, it’s possible to list a room on a GDS and sell it on a website like Booking.com or Expedia.
Hotel owners can load two main types of rates on a GDS system for hotel bookings: public rates and negotiated rates.
Negotiated rates are often reserved for large corporations that have offices, plants, or factories near the hotel. The hotel and the company need to make an agreement and decide on a sale price together before the negotiated rate can be activated. Negotiated rates typically come about in two ways: 1.) The travel manager of a large corporation negotiates discounted rates at participating properties, or 2.) A local sales manager of a hotel negotiates a discounted rate with a local company.
There is also a possibility to have rates that correspond to a Consortia program or Travel Management Companies (TMCs). Consortia and TMCs are large, global travel agency groups and hotel groups that come together under one umbrella. Travel agents can search for hotels using GDS hotel codes that are dedicated to Consortia programs or TMC groups. The rates that appear for these groups are negotiated beforehand with the hotel.
In terms of hotel GDS providers, there are three main giants that dominate the market:
Amadeus – Amadeus has been connecting travel providers to travel sellers since 1987. They serve over 770,000 hotels in 190+ countries worldwide and have a global team of 19,000 employees. Aside from hotels, Amadeus also services airlines, airport operators, rail operators, ground handlers, car rental companies & transfer providers, insurance provider groups, and cruise lines & ferries.
Sabre– Sabre has been part of the birth of airline automation since the 1960s. Today, they have almost 400,000 travel agents in their global travel marketplace. Their technology products include travel-focused mobile apps, check-in kiosks, airline and hotel reservation networks, ticket agent terminals, aircraft & crew scheduling systems, and much more.
Travelport (Galileo, Worldspan, Apollo) – With origins leading back to 1971, Travelport encompasses the Galileo, Worldspan, and Apollo GDS systems. Their worldwide travel retail platform services travel agencies and suppliers with distribution, technology, and payment solutions, among others. They work with hotel chains as well as boutique hotels to develop targeted promotions and flexible rate models to gain greater visibility in their markets.
Cloudbeds users can connect to global distribution systems via the channel manager. This approach will save you the trouble of trying to connect to a hotel GDS individually which can come with expensive set-up fees and other additional costs. Cloudbeds’ simple solution connects you to a system that connects to the big three GDSs mentioned above, allowing you to manage all your GDS accounts from one platform.
Cloudbeds users have three options for connecting to hotel GDS providers:
Cloudbeds makes it easy to connect your properties to hotel GDS providers. Once you’ve registered with Hotelnet, Reconline, or Hotusa, simply visit your Channel Distribution page in your PMS, find the channel name, and follow the step-by-step instructions to establish connectivity between systems.
After you have completed setup, we’ll begin sending pricing and inventory to that GDS provider, just like we do for OTAs. As agents and affiliates book your inventory, reservations will appear in your PMS.
If you haven’t decided on the best provider for you, our Knowledge Base articles, linked above, have contact information to help you explore services and reach out for more information.
It’s more likely that the GDS system will evolve in the coming years rather than become obsolete, so it’s worth connecting to one if you want to attract more business travelers and make gains in the corporate travel industry.
For the widest visibility and revenue-earning potential, consider connecting your PMS to a GDS distribution platform that will allow you to connect to several big-name hotel GDS providers and manage your account on one system.
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