When you break it down, hotel distribution is a complicated labyrinth of massive databases, each with its own purpose.
NB: This is an article from Leonardo
Amadeus, Sabre, and Travelport (which includes Galileo, Worldspan, and Apollo), connect a database of hotel inventory to travel agents around the world.
Travel agents and tour operators continue to make up a substantial portion of world-wide travel revenue, and an even more significant portion of corporate bookings. Travel agents book 22x more hotels than a consumers, and they are using GDSs to do so. While they book on a variety of different channels, GDS usage is increasing faster than any other channel. When comparing the channels they use to book in 2019 to channels used in previous years, the majority of travel agents reported using GDSs more than they had in the past, whereas they reported using travel mega sites and hotels’ websites the same amount as they had two years prior (Source: 2019 Global Travel Agent Study).
Some of the core benefits of GDS distribution for hotels include:
- Increased corporate bookings
- Reach new geographic regions
- Boost brand awareness
What hotels may be missing about GDSs
Unlike OTAs, most GDSs do not have an extranet for hotels to manage their listings, rates, or inventory. While there is no way to send images directly to GDSs, travel agents say they use and look for property rating and photos more than information about hotel’s services, amenities, policies, or even nearby attractions (Source: 2019 Global Travel Agent Study).
GDSs do not maintain inventory or rates, they simply pass that information from reservation systems to travel agents. Hotels must rely on a third-party provider—such as a reservation system with GDS connectivity or a representation company —to connect to the different GDSs, which each have a different fee structure.
If you’re using a central reservation system (CRS) to connect to GDSs it’s important to know that they can only pass textual information to the GDSs. While hotel photos may be built into your central reservation system, CRSs do not send images to GDSs themselves and must rely on technology providers to send images onward.
If you are a hotel chain using a channel manager or third-party vendor to distribute to GDSs, that third-party vendor relies on additional technology to source and send media to GDS. It’s essential to ask your vendor how they pass hotel media to GDSs. Some questions to ask your vendor:
- How are they matching your property to the GDSs? Your vendor should be directly matching your property info to make sure nothing is lost in the sync.
- Are they passing along categories? Which ones? Some GDSs may not show photos in miscellaneous and other categories.
- Do they ensure content integrity? 60% of travel agents say they use hotel details when researching (Source: 2019 Global Travel Agent Study) and consistency across channels is key.