GDS, CRS and channel management

The GDS have long been the primary source of travel agents bookings in the world. Today they do much more and supply content rates and hotel inventory to thousands of On-line Travel website.

The GDS systems are a huge network of thousands of computers set up originally by companies like Sabre, WorldSapn. Amedeus, Galileo and Pegasus. They provided Computer Based Reservations (CRS) services to all travel agents long before the Internet. These system are still in place and are used by more that 480,000 agents worldwide. When you visit a Travel Agent you will see them at the CRS to find and book flights and resorts.

It has traditionally been an expensive distribution system requiring setup fees in the thousands of dollars as well as booking fees, transaction fees and agents commissions. As a result many smaller hotels are not represented in the GDS and GDS have not been too interested in this sector as they problem of coordinating inventory has been too great (a small hotel just does not have a sufficient supply of rooms to justify the effort of cost them up).

With the advent of new technology this has changed. Now there are GDS agent companies (like AXSES with ArcRes-GDS) who specialise in supplying content to the GDS computers. The Internet also makes it easier to get the information and distribute it.

Axses' e-commerce systems (arcRes Bookings-Expert, arcRes-pms and ArcRes-CRS) are integrated with the GDS agent system to make it even easier and more affordable for hotels to market throught GDS. This opens a vast global market served by thousands of computers and accessed by millions all over the world.

Axses integration will also make it easier to manage rates and inventory in multiple channels. A major problem facing the industry now is the proliferation of vendors. Whereas before we had a few key Tour Operators, now there are numerous Internet companies, like Expedia, Travelocity,, Priceline and many others that have vastly more exposure that the traditional Tour Operators. Getting products onto these system and maintaining rates, content and inventory requires full time management and is not feasible for many small resorts. Axses' arcRes Bookings-Expert will provide a single system to maintain. It also makes rates management easier by allow suppliers to specify any rate in any channel as a % of another rates or a markup on costs.

more >>> Next generation


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The GDS' are the distribution backbone for travel agents, in-house corporate travel
departments, and many of the Internet distribution systems like Expedia. They deliver
rates and availability information for travel covering air, hotel and car rentals.
The information is delivered to the travel agent, so that it appears on their desktop computer
using special software to search, display rates and book.

The GDS' Hotel information was originally all input by hand. Pegasus employed a house
full of workers to do this work, much of this is now out sourced to India. The process
is very tedious and time prone to error. Once the information is loaded software
maintain the rate and inventory changes in all GDS. All this information is now handled
by by the Pegasus Switch.

To avoid delays and errors hotels and their technology providers opted to integrate the
GDS information with their own reservations and property management solutions. This was
called seamless integration. 2 way seamless refers to the systems that can manage GDS
rates from the hotel CRS or PMS. One way integration simply means the hotel system can
view the GDS sales but not manage the data.

Seamless Integration is not the same as NEXT GENERATION.

Next Generation capability was built by the GDS to allow compatible systems to input the
data directly into the GDS´s. There are several such sytems in place.
(list). This means that a hotel
might use an online form to input their rates and data and this goes directly into the
GDS. It substantially reduces the time to get to market and eliminates some errors when
re-keying data. GDS sold this option to vendors who it turn incorporated it into their
hotel solutions. Some setup shop as GDS agents to offer this service.


The technology to update a mainframe is not trivial. It involves robotics that
interface online internet system with GDS mainframe computers. Mainframes are not
Internet savvy computers and cannot be accessed directly to change and add data. The
data is sent via packets relayed on telecommunications network. The packet relay is
interpreted by the Mainframe. As these mainframes are all different systems,
and standards were created. Mainframes also have very specific rules on what characters
are accepted. Charters and in some cases words act as tigers to set off process in a
mainframe, so the information sent to a mainframe must be accurate and comply with their
rules. Even years after implementation the GDS-load process was finding errors in data
integrity. A simple quotation mark can trigger a failure with disastrous results.


The Pegasus switch (originally called thisco, now called Utraswitch) is not a next
generation technology. That is why Pegasus bought a similar system developed by Trust
that was Next generation (WizCom). Pegasus plans to upgrade all systems by 2008 with
conversions starting with hotel factory (their Central Reservation System) in November 2007.


Next Generation provides GDS users with real-time rates and availability that is 100%
identical to the information used by a hotel company's own reservations staff. The
information is more quickly available and more accurate resulting in increased
confidence and usability by agents. With NEXT generation Seamless, agents are nore
inclined to sell more using the GDS rather than book via telephone to assure their
clients the lowest rates. Galileo Inside Shopper, Worldspan Integrated Hotel Source,
Sabre Direct Connect Shop, the respective GDS' Next Generation Seamless products, were
implemented by 2004.

© Ian Clayton2007 as published on

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