Functions of Global Distribution System

 Functions of Global Distribition System
As the previous section clarifies the basic understanding of the Global Distribution
System and its significance to the tourism and travel related industries. This part of the unit
will elucidate various functions performed GDSs. Global Distribution System provides the
basic functions for the reservation process such as product presentation, reservation, fare
quote & ticketing and additional services.
a. Product Presentation
For a CRS, the most important source of information is the presentation of the
products and services offered by providers in all areas related to the travel industry. Each
group of service providers has individual screen categories the contents of which particularly
represent the complexity of their offerings and specific features of their services. The
product “flight” for example does not require complex descriptions since it is sufficient for a
neutral product presentation to state the departure and arrival times, the route, availability
of particular reservation categories and possibly the fare. It may, however, be difficult to
describe the products of other service providers appropriately with only a limited amount
of information. Hotels, for example, have so far only been able to provide information about
the price, the size of the bed and its approximate location which alone is not a meaningful
description for potential customers. For this reason, it is intended to link the particular
offers to visual multimedia technology to be able to provide more detailed information to
the customer.

The core function of reservation systems and the main reason for developing them
is the reservation of offered services in the travel industry. To this end, a so called Passenger
Name Record (PNR) or Guest Name Record (GNR) is created for each passenger or each
group of passengers. These records contain all services-related customer information. At
the same time, this information is transferred to the internal inventory system of all service
providers, distributors who thus have the latest information about availability at any point
in time and can use it as a basis for a new offer. In addition, the system can also store
customer related information such as e.g. all services provided to a certain customer, type
of payment, service information etc.
c. Fare Quote & Ticketing
Just like the product presentation, the fare quote, ticketing and voucher generating
process depend on the type and the complexity of the services offered. For flights, multiple
fares are being offered which differ according to the reservation category, the date of the
journey, the day when the reservation was made, the route and the length of the stay. That
means that practically each fare needs to be calculated individually. In addition, fare quotes
can change daily. The prices of other service providers, however, are relatively fixed so that
in most cases, they stay an unchanged part of the offer. For the ticketing, travel agencies
receive a fixed number of ticket forms which may only be used after confirmation has been
received from the respective service provider. Typically, the print-out of any additional
information material is not supported by most systems as it is not always necessary, like for
example a print-out of a hotel or rental car reservation..
d. Additional Services
Because of the increasing competition in the market, system operators were forced
to offer not only the three essential components of an information and booking system but
also additional services.

 Today, the user has direct access to essential travel information
and can find further information in all CRSs about trade shows, visa regulations, particular
events etc. Furthermore, programs and interfaces have been developed which facilitate
the internal administration for each travel agent. Also invoicing, accounting, customer
and quota management increasingly depend on the respective CRS. User prompting has
significantly improved so that even inexperienced users can easily learn how to work with
the reservation procedure. Since more and more PCs are being used in this area modern
user interfaces have been introduced.
GDS companies offer far more than just simple air travel bookings. GDS systems are
capable of booking:
➢➢ One way and roundtrip airline seats ➢ Hotel rooms
➢➢ Rental cars ➢ Tours and packages
➢➢ Cruises ➢ Insurance
➢➢ Restaurant reservations ➢ Theatre tickets
➢➢ Itinerary changes ➢ Complex international routings
➢➢ Rail ➢ Ferry
➢ Limousines
Ultimately GDSs should look to not only just meet the customer requirements but
also to exceed the expectations of their stakeholders, (i.e. consumers, principals, travel
agencies and shareholders), offer superior products.

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