Travel agencies must have full access to a global distribution system GDS. To get connected to a GDS, travel agencies need a contract. This will enable the travel agents to provide an astonishing amount of travel product rates and information to their customers, at the lowest possible rates. An experienced travel technology company can integrate any GDS to the computer reservation system or website of a travel agency.
It's critical also for the properties to be on a GDS. Travelers now go to travel portals to find travel products. So hotels, car rentals, etc, have to be there to get Internet visibility and, thus, more reservations. A GDS allows real-time access to inventory system of a hotel with the current prices, discounts, room types, facilities like Wi-Fi and different aspects of interest to the potential customer.
Owners can hire a good travel technology company to get access to the GDS of their choice. A property can be connected only in one GDS provider. If the property owner wants to change the provider, he can cancel the existing provider and activate another with a switch letter.
Amadeus GDS was started in 1987 by Air France, Iberia, Lufthansa, and SAS in order to create a European GDS, by fusing their CRSs. In 1989, seven more airlines joined Amadeus and began to allow travel agents to book flights through neutral screens. It is now the largest leisure package distributor in the world. Through Amadeus GDS integration, a travel agent can offer travel products from 430 airlines in 195 countries, 32 car rental companies in 37,918 locations, 20 cruise lines and 300,000 hotel properties. More than 100,000 travel agencies are connected with Amadeus GDS.
Galileo GDS and Sabre GDS are the other two major GDSs. There are also third party consolidators like Sahara, Infini (Japan), Axess (Japan), Tapas (Korea), Fantasia (South Pacific), and Abacus (Asia/Pacific) that cater to particular regions or countries.
The big consolidators also include such as Expedia, Orbitz (Merchant program registration needed), Hotels.com, Travelocity, AAA, Hotwire, Priceline and TravelWeb.