Understanding Global Distribution the tour industry

 Understanding Global Distribution System
Internet as a distribution channel for travel needs can be learned by understanding
the Global Distribution System (GDS) and its dynamics.
GDS can be understood as the set of networking operated by service enterprise that
enables computer based transactions between service providers and intermediating agent
to condition the tourism and travel related services to the tourists and travellers. GDS is the
large and sophisticated electronic travel reservation systems currently in use throughout
the world.
GDS is a system that integrates services, rates and bookings consolidating products
and services beyond all travel sections like Airline reservations, Hotel reservations,

rentals, and other tourism related activities.
It networks large number of tourism and travel service providers to offer a common
stage for bookings and reservations (flight, hotel, packages and cars) to consumers across
the world.
It facilitated both the leisure and business clients, by making the information
available and facilitating to make reservations for entertainment services like Cinema,
holiday packages and tourism destinations. Eventually the centre of the GDSs are perceived
to be based on a chain of smaller, regional and specialised technological systems for their
leisure market offerings..
They have gradually expanded their geographical coverage integrating both
horizontally, with other airline systems, and vertically by incorporating the entire range of
principals, such as accommodation, car rentals, train and ferry ticketing, entertainment and
other provisions. It emerged as the major driver of IT, as well as the backbone of the tourism
industry and the single most important facilitator of IT globalisation. It matured from their
original development as airline CRSs to travel supermarkets.
GDS systems have revamped and positioned again to support the marketing and
promotional activities for the providers (i.e., other intermediaries, principally travel

changing their concentration from aviation industry to few other travel-related
sectors; and leveraging their strong near-term cash positions to purchase or partner
with other intermediaries to provide end-to-end links between end users and suppliers.
Their online connection is through their support of other intermediaries, plus mergers,
acquisitions, and partnerships with selected online players.
GDSs’ improvement in terms of efficiency and reliability enabled principals to
distribute and handle their bookings and reservations across the world by connecting the
customer requirements with the tourism offerings. Therefore, great synergies are attained,
where the forces of globalisation have stimulated GDS progress.
The GDS has been the instrument for some of the most critical innovations in the
process and operations of tourism and travel industry. 

Some of the innovative practices
evolved through GDSs are e-ticketing; travel e-commerce; graphic seat selection; and the
ability for agents and travellers to view on one screen, public, private/negotiated, consolidator
and Web fares. A Consumer is allowed to book an airline ticket, airport transfers, car rentals,
book hotel reservations, plan sightseeing cruises, block theatre tickets and make dinner
reservations, all these in a single schedule through a single GDS system.
Distributing the tourism and travel related services using GDSs’ had promised
enormous advantages to the service providers and consumers in terms of price, efficiency,
and access relative to traditional print- and telephone-based methods. Capitalising on GDS,
the service providers like hoteliers and destination have accessed the global market of travel
agents, all clamouring to sell their range of services with meagre transaction cost beyond
what these service providers would normally incur in terms of commission charges.
There are currently four major GDS systems: Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre and World span. In
addition, there are several smaller or regional GDSs, including SITA’s Sahara, Infini (Japan),
Axess (Japan), Tapas (Korea), Fantasia (South Pacific), and Abacus (Asia/Pacific) that serve
interests or specific regions or countries. Later in the chapter we will provide a closer look
at the four major GDS.

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