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What is GDS? – A Simple Guide

December 05, 2022
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The Global Distribution System (GDS) is one of the primary booking channels used by many travel agencies worldwide. The travel business has grown significantly as a result of it. It is essential to know how to become a GDS travel agent and learn the tech to further your business. 

What is GDS? – A Simple Guide

If you are just getting started in the travel industry, you probably have questions about what a GDS is and why creating a travel agent website is crucial.

This blog will discuss GDS, its role in the travel industry, and what the future holds for this key reservation tool.

What is a Global Distribution System?

The driving force behind the travel business is the Global Distribution System (GDS). It is a computerized network system that gives businesses like airlines, hotels, auto rentals, and travel agencies access to real-time information. To access the current inventory of services provided by the travel industry, each of these sectors employs GDS.

For instance, a travel agency can use GDS to check the availability of hotel rooms, airline seats, or vehicle rentals on behalf of its clients and make reservations using the same GDS.

How do travel companies use GDS?

How do travel companies use GDS?

The most incredible deals on airfare, rentals, cars, hotels and other travel-related items are found by travel agencies using GDS. Travel agencies tailor their information based on the customer's tastes and trip plans.

A travel agency's agent will locate the most precise and economic schedule when a customer wants information. Travel agencies can either purchase a specific piece of GDS software on an annual basis or pay a fee each time they use the GDS. In addition, a regular person can only use the GDS with a vendor or a travel agency's assistance.

Suggested Read: Travel and Tourism Courses - TBO Academy

Evolution in GDS

Evolution in GDS

The airline industry developed the first GDS in the 1960s to monitor flight availability, rates, and timetables. In reality, the GDSs were among the first organizations to support B2B e-commerce globally. The airline industry employed them to automate the reservation process, but later, access was also granted to travel agencies.

What are the benefits of using GDS in travel?

What are the benefits of using GDS in travel

For airlines, hotels, and car rental businesses, GDS will be the most effective distribution channel. The following are a few of the main advantages of adopting GDS.

  • Effective at enticing tourists from abroad
  • Facilitates the use of business models like retail travel agencies and OTA's (Online Travel Agency)
  • Increased price transparency for customers
  • With significant market penetration, travel agencies can get a worldwide platform.
  • Offer your clients the best prices possible—rates that no other system can match.
  • Distribute travel services to numerous customers without letting your marketing budget suffer

What is the future of GDS in the travel industry?

What is the future of GDS in the travel industry?

The developments occurring in the travel sector are challenging and modifying the conventional function of GDS. Airlines and other online travel agencies encourage and lure customers into making reservations through their websites. Compared to the cost on their own website, several airlines are adding extra charges for tickets bought through the GDS.

Some industry experts believe that GDS may evolve into a platform for direct corporate booking instead of a travel agency service.

What are the major GDS systems?

The majority of the data from hotels, airlines, and other distributors is stored and processed by a few large global distribution systems.

  • Amadeus: Amadeus is one of the largest GDS providers. It offers a wide range of services, including airline reservations, hotel bookings, car rentals, and more. It's used by travel agents to search and book travel-related services for their clients.
  • Sabre: Sabre is another major GDS provider. It offers technology solutions for airlines, hotels, travel agencies, and other travel-related businesses. Sabre's platform helps travel agents access and book travel options for their customers.
  • Galileo: Galileo was one of the original GDS providers and is now part of Travelport. It offers travel booking solutions for travel agencies and travel suppliers, including airlines, hotels, and car rental companies.
  • Worldspan: Worldspan, also a part of Travelport, provides a GDS platform used by travel professionals to access and book travel services. It offers a range of services to travel agencies and travel suppliers.
  • Apollo: Apollo is a GDS system primarily used by travel agencies and professionals in North America. It provides tools to search and book travel services such as flights, hotels, and car rentals.
  • Pegasus: Pegasus Solutions is a provider of technology solutions for hotels and travel distribution. While it's not one of the primary GDS providers like Amadeus, Sabre, or Travelport, it offers services related to hotel distribution and reservations.

How do GDS systems work?

GDS are programmed platforms that provide access to real time data of flights, hotels, and car rentals. It aggregates the pricing and inventory of the various suppliers for flights, hotels, and car rentals and list them using a tech-backed platform. The data is then used by online travel booking agents and platforms to shop for the best fit as per clients and customers requirements. Once a booking has been made, the system marks it as unavailable and update it on the system so that it can't be sold again. This helps issues such as double booking for the same amenity. 

GDS in hotel industry

In the hotel industry, Global Distribution Systems (GDS) play a crucial role in distributing hotel inventory and making it accessible to travel agents, online travel agencies (OTAs), and other travel professionals. GDS systems help hotels reach a wide audience of potential guests and streamline the booking process.

For instance, GDS company Worldspan do not work with Southwest Airlines; American Airlines uses Sabre as a GDS tool; PARD by USAir; Air China uses TravelSky; Delta uses Worldspan.Another newsworthy affair is that agreements are signed between airlines, and GDS is on renewal. Many people working in the travel sector are still determining if the airlines will continue using particular GDSs. So, if you are a travel agent who uses Worldspan, you cannot book Southwest Airlines, or you need to look for pricing on their website and book directly from their website.

We really hope you discover something new about the tourism sector. Check back often as we intend to dismantle the ever-shifting travel industry further.

Suggested Read: How to Become a Tour Operator

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is Global Distribution System (GDS)?

A1. A global distribution system, or GDS, is a computerised network that streamlines interactions between travel service providers and travel agencies (both online travel agents).

Q2. What are the four Global Distribution Systems?

A2. There are currently four major GDS systems:

  • Amadeus
  • Galileo
  • Sabre
  • Worldspan

Q3. Who created GDS?

A3. The first GDS was developed by the airline industry in the 1960s as a tool to monitor flight availability, rates, and timetables.

Q4. Who can use GDS?

A4. GDS requires a training process to understand the user interface. Therefore, travel agents and bookers use GDS. However, several online booking platform use GDS and simplify the interface providing a better way to book for layman as well.

Q5. Which industries do GDS cater to? 

A5. GDS is widely used by car rentals, flights and hotels suppliers.

Deepti Shangari
Deepti Shangari, a seasoned senior content writer, whose passion to write, manage and conquer knows no bounds. To her, the world is an ever-changing symphony of ecstatic motion, a mesmerizing dance of evolution and unfolding. With each passing moment, the vibrant tapestry unfurls before her very eyes, inspiring her to craft literary pieces that transcend the ordinary.