According to a recent blog by Peter Ducker, the Institute of Hospitality’s Chief Executive, the GDS – or computerised–reservations systems (they included Sabre, Amadeus, Galileo and Worldspan) that were originally created by the airlines to distribute flights through travel agencies are still a force to be reckoned with in the hospitality industry.
Major airlines may have taken a wrong turn when they sold their GDS shares, which “allowed the businesses to become companies in their own right”. Enter OTAs (online travel agents), which challenged the popularity of GDSs, then leisure travelers embraced internet tools for travel taking a further chunk of business away from GDSs.
However, all is not lost for the GDS companies. Ducker confirms that business travel has revived flagging GDSs. “Research from TravelClick of 650 travel agents in 34 countries showed a 14% increase in use of the GDS to book hotel accommodation from 2011 to 2013. During the same period, the usage of hotel/chain websites for direct bookings rose just 3% and the use of other channels such as agent booking tools, travel websites, hotel directories and direct calls dropped significantly by 21%.”
Read more from Peter Ducker FIH about the development and current standing of the GDS sector in his guest blogger post at: WTM 2014.