A global distribution system, or GDS, is an advanced network of travel agents who specialise in selling and booking travel products, including hotel rooms and packages. When a hotel operator connects with a GDS, the operator then has access to all of the agents within the GDS network.
Agents can easily book rooms and packages for their clients through the GDS. There are various types of GDS, but it’s imperative that hotels partner with a GDS in the hotel industry. A GDS in the hotel industry will understand the unique needs and goals of hotel operators who are managing properties of all sizes.
How a GDS works for hotels
A GDS is an intuitive and advanced network of travel professionals, all of whom are looking to discover the best rates and packages for their clients. Rather than acting as a booking system, like an OTA, the GDS operates as a portal for agents to use so they can connect to hotels, and vice versa.
Hotels that partner with the GDS will be able to broadcast their rates, availability and packages to the network, ultimately allowing the agents that interact on the GDS to finalise reservations for their own clients.
Generally, as a hotel operator, you should consider the GDS to be one of your most important channels in your distribution strategy.
This channel provides you with unparalleled access to motivated travel agents who are looking to secure deals quickly and easily for their clients. By developing a presence on the GDS, you will be able to improve your hotel brand’s global recognition, as well as identify new target market segments that may be interested in your hotel property.
Why a Hotel Needs a GDS
When it comes to the GDS, travel industry experts recognise that it is an important part of their overall distribution strategy, and necessary to brand development.
There are many reasons why a hotel needs a GDS, including:
- The number of bookings generated through a GDS generally outpaces that of direct bookings. While direct bookings are rising, and they do represent a significant amount of revenue for hotel operators, there are still more bookings being generated through the GDS than through hotel websites. In 2016, hotel bookings via the GDS increased by 1.3% while direct bookings rose by just 0.8%.
- A GDS in the hotel industry will help significantly increase revenue at your property. Revenue increases largely because the GDS places the hotel’s information, availability and rates in prominent locations where it is easy for travel agents to find this valuable information. It helps hotels maximise their bookings during any given time period while also reaching powerful travel markets that are willing to spend money in order to book the best room available. Generally, a lot of travel agents who specialise in corporate travel use a GDS to get their clients booked quickly and efficiently.
- The GDS can help hotel managers uncover new market segments to promote their products to. Given the vast expanse of the GDS network, it’s not surprising the hotel operators can use this enormous channel to uncover new traveller markets. In many cases, hotel operators discover through the GDS that there are traveller market segments interested in their products that they couldn’t previously reach.
- More travel agents are relying on the GDS to find the best places for their clients to stay. Since 2011, the number of travel agents using a GDS has increased by more than 14%. Every year, more agents are realising that this is the best way to easily connect with hotel properties from around the world. Through the GDS, the agents have access to live rates and availability, and they can easily book rooms for their clients.
The Ultimate GDS Checklist
As you are considering the various types of GDS, you will want to make sure that the GDS you select has the features you need. Go through this checklist before you finalise your selection:
With a GDS that supports pooled inventory, you can market all of your rooms to all of your distribution channels at one time. Without this feature available, you will be forced to separate your inventory based on the distribution channel, which can prevent you from maximising your bookings and increasing your revenue.
#2: Commission-free structure
Your GDS should help you maximise your bookings and increase your revenue, not deplete you of the revenue you should be earning per booking. Do not choose a GDS that forces you to pay a commission fee simply for delivering the booking to your hotel’s property management system (PMS).
#3: Integration capabilities
You will want to partner with a GDS that integrates fully and completely with your existing property management system, online booking engine and channel manager. This simplifies the process for you and allows you to effectively implement and manage your distribution strategy.
#4: Comprehensive reporting
Your GDS should help you make the best decisions regarding your marketing strategy and distribution plan. You will want to select a GDS that offers comprehensive reporting tools that allow you to view and evaluate your booking data.
#5: Ability to target specific markets
Through your GDS, you should have the opportunity to discover and tap into the most powerful and motivated market segments. You should be able to filter your access based on geographical location and also specific types of travelers.
Benefits of Partnering with a Hotel GDS
There are many advantages to utilising a GDS in the hotel industry. As you explore the different types of GDS, you will want to consider the benefits to this powerful partnership:
#1: Your exposure will increase significantly
With GDS by SiteMinder, you have access to more than 500,000 different agents from all over the world through the most widely used GDS systems. This real-time connectivity allows you to uncover new guest segments that may be interested in your property.
#2: Connecting to agents is quick and affordable
Rather than signing up with each individual GDS system, you can use GDS by SiteMinder to connect to the best GDS networks in the hotel industry. This makes it easy for you to connect to an advanced network of agents, and also helps you avoid the fees that are associated with signing up with each GDS on an individual basis.
#3: You no longer have to deal with manual booking entries
If you opt to sign up with a different GDS or several different GDS systems, you may be forced to take the bookings through the GDS and manually enter them into your property management system. This is cumbersome and time consuming, and can put you at risk of double-booking your rooms. With GDS by SiteMinder, your GDS will automatically integrate with your existing property management system (PMS), and your bookings will be automatically entered. You will no longer have to deal with tedious and frustrating data entry, and you can focus more of your energy on serving the guests who are staying at your property.
#4: You can make better decisions for your hotel
With the right hotel technology tools in place, you will have access to the valuable data you need to monitor your progress and track your growth. GDS by SiteMinder provides comprehensive reporting tools that allow you to easily view your most recent and relevant data. With this data on hand, you can make effective and beneficial decisions for your hotel. You can easily adjust your hotel marketing strategies, your revenue management strategies and your distribution strategies, ultimately allowing you to increase your bookings across all of your target market segments.
#5: You will be able to discover interested travellers from every location around the world
The travel industry has always been a global industry, but it’s never been connected in this way before. Travellers from around the world are working with agents who have access to a vast wealth of information through various GDS systems. With GDS by SiteMinder, you get access to all of those systems in one, and ultimately can partner with hundreds upon thousands of travel agents. You will start to see bookings from guests from the far reaches of the globe, which will help increase your brand recognition and allow you to launch a global marketing campaign. Discovering new markets is the best way to reach your full potential within the ever-competitive hotel industry.
To find out more information about how GDS by SiteMinder can help your property increase its reach throughout the industry, begin your free demo today.