What is GDS for hotels?

The Global Distribution System (GDS) is one of the many players involved in the distribution of hotel rooms. Simply said, a GDS is a large storage of hotel rooms, airline tickets and car rentals, from which travel agents can select the most favourable trip for their customers. If you sell (part of) your rooms via a GDS, about half a million travel agencies worldwide can sell your hotel rooms to both leisure and business travellers.


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How does a GDS work?  

A GDS is an old, gigantic computer network that transmits the availability and prices of airlines, car rental companies and hotels to travel agencies (both physically and online).  Connecting a hotel directly to a GDS is very difficult, which is why this is usually done via a GDS provider. A GDS provider will connect the hotel directly to all major GDS systems and will also take care of the sales and marketing activities. These providers integrate with channel managers, which means that you hardly need to think about the maintenance of this channel. 

What GDS systems are there?  

It is important to distinguish GDS systems from GDS providers. We will explain the difference with an example. You can see the largest GDS systems (Amadeus, SabreTravelPort) as a factory for branded clothing. But to buy these branded clothing, you go to a store of this brand or a retailer, in this case, the GDS providers (HotelREZReconline, SHR). You cant just go to the factory to pick up a new shirt. 

For what type of hotel is GDS suitable?  

Selling your rooms via a GDS is not cheap. Because you cannot work directly with a GDS, you work with one or more intermediaries (connectors) who charge set-up costs and expect a percentage of your revenue. On the other hand, these parties do take the responsibility to sell your rooms profitably. Do you doubt whether a GDS connection is interesting for your hotel? Try to find it out through the following characteristics 

  • Your hotel has more than 20 rooms 
  • You want to be bookable through traditional travel agencies 
  • Your hotel is close to an airport 
  • You would like to attract the business market 
  • Your hotel is suitable for the business market 

Can you find yourself in most characteristics? Then it might be worthwhile to sell your hotel rooms through a GDS provider. 




About SmartHOTEL

For more than 16 years, SmartHOTEL has been helping hoteliers navigate the exciting world of online distribution. From our office based in the Netherlands, our team serves independent hotels, hostels and chains worldwide by providing channel management and tailored online distribution solutions. A lot has changed over the last years, but our goal remains the same: simply connect hotels to the world. For any questions regarding our services, please contact us at sales@smarthotel.nl or call +31 (0)182 75 11 18.

By SmartHOTEL | September 01, 2014

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