Global Distribution System: A Much-Needed Enrichment To Global Tourism
If you’re an ardent explorer and frequently plan trips to new destinations, then you are likely to be a user of the Global Distribution System (GDS). Alternatively, if you are someone who offers to assist people in planning their travels, well, you ought to be using a Global Distribution System. No matter which end of the spectrum you’re at, you must know what the GDS is.
A Global Distribution System is a computerized network system operated by an organization that allows transactions between the tourism industry service providers, particularly airlines, hotels, car rental companies, and tourism companies.
The GDS ensures that visitors find what they’re looking for easily, regardless of where they are located in the world. Considering how travel data can be dramatically scattered across the internet, the GDS makes it simpler for tourists to plan their trips and find the best deals on their desired hotels and tourist attractions.
The Inception of Global Distribution Systems
The roots of GDS can be traced back to the 1960s when different airline companies started using sophisticated and fairly new methods of communication to monitor and schedule flights or check seat availabilities, and prices. American Airlines (AA) was the first company to develop a real-time computerized reservation system (CRS) in a joint venture with IBM. The SABRE (Semi-Automatic Business Research Environment), one of the first CRS, was launched in 1964 and helped process nearly 26000 transaction requests per day.
Soon, several other airlines and travel agents joined the bandwagon. The advantage was clear- the ability to cater to bookings from a geographically dispersed market! And that’s how the foundation for GDS was established.
What makes the modern GDS different from the traditional reservation system?
We’ve come a long way since the early years of the inception of GDS. Originally, it was created with the intent to be used by travel agents to provide the best possible alternatives to their clients. However, as the customer 2.0 has changed its behaviour, so has the GDS module. Today, it has transitioned into being customer-centric, thanks to the DIY and self-service model which gives the user complete autonomy. In an omnichannel approach, the GDS is highly adaptable as per the preferences and choices of the customers to provide them with intelligent suggestions and customized options. But how does this work?
In retrospect, a CRS is mainly used by respective vendors or sellers, GDS was used by travel agents to be able to track consolidated views from different vendors. GDS holds no inventory but simply has a real-time link to the vendor’s database; this is how Agoda or Booking.com tells you whether your favourite hotel has any rooms left for the selected dates.
Connecting providers of tourism services on one end and consumers on the other, the global distribution system is a neutral interface creating a global presence in both supply and demand.
What does this mean for service providers in the travel and hospitality industry?
Travel sites and apps are the modern avatars of a travel agent. The objective remains the same – provide a convenient, seamless experience to the customers catered to their preferences. The preference could vary from location to duration, to budget, and more.
The number of bookings completed by a GDS generally outnumbers the direct bookings. While direct bookings are on the rise, people still prefer to pursue their alternatives and best deals using a GDS.
Hotels rake in more revenue through a GDS because it acts as the central point for customers to compare prices across multiple channels rather than verifying it themselves.
Travel agents can now successfully book corporate travel packages via GDS to have their clients accommodated swiftly.
Hotel managers can uncover new market avenues to promote their offerings.
For a new entrant in the travel and hospitality sector, the GDS becomes the backbone based on which it builds its service. However, what differentiates various platforms from each other is the comprehensiveness and quality of GDS integration. But do you know how a GDS is behind the scenes?
Ideally, the booking engine deployed should be able to allow a single search against multiple data providers. It should be connected via the latest APIs, GDSs, and consolidators. The GDS uses its deep learning algorithm to find all the listings of particular hotels, flights, or bookings to cross-check based on the rates stated across sites.
If you’re a travel business, you should also consider the integration of a CMS-based travel portal that allows your team to update your site’s content without recurring technical assistance. In a world where global tourism is expected to see a boom again, multiple languages and currency support become a must, notwithstanding integration with multiple geography-specific payment gateways.
The Way Forward: Future of GDS
Travel agents and booking platforms have seen the tremendous benefits that come with working with a well-implemented global distribution system. By using a system like this, agents and platforms can easily connect with suppliers all over the world and avoid the hassles and delays that can often occur while trying to negotiate deals directly with individual vendors.
We’ve learned from all major industrial revolutions that it’s always a smart move to leverage evolving technologies designed to meet the demands of the modern consumer. The best-performing GDS systems globally include names like Amadeus, Sabre, Galileo, and World span by Travelport, where we’ll get to see the most growth. Looking ahead, the world is leaning towards automation with the help of conversational commerce.
With the help of deep internet search and technologies like Data Analytics, GDS providers like the ones we’ve mentioned above can improve their algorithm in order to improve customer experience. Moreover, as people are more inclined to self-service, the unilateral platforms can pursue to improve their omnichannel services. Not only does this lighten the burden of travel agents and booking organizations, but also streamlines their operations based on the ever-changing customer behaviour.
We at iView Labs, have been helping several legacies, as well as new businesses, create user-friendly, efficient, and robust travel and booking portals. As the world of technology grows, our services and solutions adapt themselves to cater to the shifting demands that come with it. With our expertise in Global Distribution Systems, we’re all about improving the progress and streamlined workflows of businesses that partner with us. If you’d like to get on board the GDS revolution, reach out to us today. For more regarding the latest technologies, stay tuned to our blog!