If you’re a regular reader of our articles, you may by now be familiar with the idea of a Global Distribution System (GDS) for the travel industry – a worldwide system that stores information on hotels, flights and other services so that travel agents can instantly access them and make bookings.However, perhaps you are on the fence about signing up to one and are unsure of the potential benefits. If so, we wanted to offer a quick round-up of our top five advantages in order to help you make a decision.
1. Personalised booking potential Since the GDS is updated instantly, hotel marketers or booking managers will be able to offer both corporate and leisure customers new packages that are suitable for them quickly and conveniently, without them having to search elsewhere. This can increase the likelihood of spontaneous reservations if someone sees a great deal perfectly tailored to them.
2. A better range of offers GDS systems are able to store guests’ booking history, meaning that you will have new data at your disposal as to how much people have spent when they were with you, what they liked to do while they were there, whether they ordered room service and other details. This can then be extrapolated for possible future guests and offers created that are more likely to appeal to them.In addition, room rate changes (such as new package deals) can be instantly communicated via the GDS and therefore promoted rapidly across the world.
3. No need for manual updating Every time a room is booked via the GDS, the system quickly updates its records to reflect the new inventory. This means hotel managers don’t need to log into multiple different pieces of software to change the number of rooms available, something that has undoubtedly resulted in mistakes before. It is also ideal for corporate clients who want to make block bookings and see right away how many spaces are free at a particular location.
4. Available 24/7 While manned call centres and front desks rely on there being someone there to answer the phones or monitor emails, the GDS is automatic and online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means anyone in any time zone can make a reservation and be automatically reassured that it has gone through, potentially meaning more revenue for the hotel thanks to the greater convenience.
5. Better marketing potential The GDS stores all the information it needs for bookings, but it also holds records necessary for travel agents to showcase properties to clients, such as attractive photos, lists of amenities and things to do in nearby resorts. Because it is global and visible to thousands of agents, that means hotels have a new marketing channel at their disposal without them having to create fresh promotional campaigns. Make these extra titbits especially tempting and it could significantly boost your bookings as people decide to treat themselves on the spur of the moment while in a travel agency.Of course, there are costs associated with being on a GDS and the system won’t be for everyone – take a look at our previous, in-depth articles if you want to learn more. But it may be that these benefits are all you need to persuade you that your hotel needs to be signed up in 2017.