In the intricate tapestry of the hospitality industry, Global Distribution Systems (GDS) have long been the favored tools of major players—hotel chains, airlines, and travel agents. However, as we stand on the cusp of 2024, the spotlight turns toward independent hotels and small groups. Should they venture into the realm of GDS as a pivotal element of their business strategy?
NB: This is an article from Guestcentric
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and stay up to date
Let’s unravel the potential and key considerations for these entities as they embark on the GDS Odyssey.
GDS: How the Corporate Booking Engine is becoming a Consumer Magnet
For years, GDS has operated as the unsung hero, orchestrating seamless corporate travel arrangements. Notably, major entities like American Express continue to wield GDS for booking hotels, flights, and more, cementing its role as the undisputed corporate booking dynamo.
While flights often adhere to corporate policies, the landscape is evolving for hotels. Travelers, particularly in the corporate sphere, crave unique experiences. The allure of boutique hotels can now be amplified through GDS, turning them into sought-after destinations for the discerning corporate traveler.
Beneath the surface, GDS holds strategic advantages. For hotels, it translates into wider market visibility, specifically targeting the coveted corporate segment. Guests, in turn, relish the convenience of having all travel arrangements taken care of on their behalf. Providers thrive in a symbiotic relationship through the revenue share model.
How the GDS is Growing and Morphing to Match Consumer Desires
Despite shifting travel trends, GDS stands resilient and continues to grow. At a recent conference in November 2024, panelists from Amadeus forecasted an annual growth of 1 to 2%.
Although corporate travel has been slower to resume following 2020, this arena is making a robust comeback, with a notable shift toward unmanaged travel—an area where GDS sees an opportunity for conversion into a managed environment. The heart of GDS strength lies in the Travel Management Company (TMC)-Hotel relationship. This partnership extends beyond bookings, ensuring complex problems are solved, namely as they relate to seamless transactions, cross-border commissions, and payments between multiple actors in the travel supply chain. It also opens up a colossal opportunity to drive GDS growth by converting unmanaged travel into a managed domain.
The Next Leap in GDS Growth
Global Distribution Systems are a legacy of the travel industry, and have been around for many years. Yet, these solutions are set to continue evolving in order to meet rapidly-evolving tech trends and consumer demands. Below are just 4 of the many trends set to shape GDS innovation in 2024 and beyond: