GDS or Global Distribution System refers to the reservation tool travel agents use when making an air, hotel, car or other travel service booking. And not only do GDS power the content of ‘traditional’ travel agency platforms, but they also provide pricing, availability and reservation functionality to many online travel agencies.
GDS is different from a computer reservations system, which is a reservation system used by the service providers (also known as vendors). Primary customers of GDS are travel agents (both online and office-based) to make reservation on various reservation systems run by the vendors. GDS holds no inventory; the inventory is held on the vendor's reservation system itself. A GDS system will have real-time link to the vendor's database. For example, when a travel agency requests a reservation on the service of a particular airline company, the GDS system routes the request to the appropriate airline's computer reservations system. This enables a travel agent with a connection to a single GDS to choose and book various flights, hotels, activities and associated services on all the vendors operating in the same route who are part of that GDS network.
What makes up the GDS?
The GDS is made up of data that is collected by Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre, Pegasus, and Worldspan. It is important to note that the GDS does not actually maintain inventory and rates but passes it through to the end user from the hotel. The hotel will load rates. When a query is made the GDS simply passes the information to the end-user.
How to manage the information that is displayed on the GDS?
The OpenHotel GDS management area is unique. When managing your rates you may choose to use a pooled method of inventory or designate specific inventory to the GDS. Of course, you may specify specific rates for the general GDS and for specific channels. OpenHotel also has a management area for the GDS which allows you to change descriptions, uploading photos, manage area attractions and restaurants and even sign up for additional channels such as Priceline or Hotwire.
What is the difference between the GDS and OTA's such as Expedia, Booking.com or Hotels.com?
These OTA's originally started by pulling information through the GDS. They learned the 10% travel agency when a reservation was completed. Many of these types of sites have now changed to merchant agreements. A merchant agreement means that you provide them with a discounted rate of 25 to 30% offofrack. You cannot sell your rooms for less than what they sell them for and you cannot give one site a better rate than another. This is called maintaining parity. The percentages may vary. For example, Open Hotel GDS properties may receive a better rate on some channels. Booking.com normally charges about 15%.
GDS benefits for your hotel:
Worldwide exposure of your hotel.
B2B and B2C distribution.
GDS distribution is the entry door to corporate bookers.
Targeting all Travel Agencies independently of the GDS (distribution platform they may use).
24/7 travel agent access to your inventory.
24/7 travel agent access to your full descriptive and multimedia content.