Why is it Essential to add GDS and IDS to your Distribution Mix.

Running a hospitality business is not easy. Today, with so many channels available – Print, Agents, Online Travel Websites, Global Distribution system, Direct to Customer Sales, getting an optimum mix that will maximize your revPAR requires foresight. In such a scenario, having specialized partners can make the difference. This whitepaper will illustrate the importance of two such distribution channels - the Global Distribution System (GDS) and the Internet Distribution System (IDS) and will also, provide you with some key reasons why you should list your hotel on them.

What is GDS and IDS?
The Global Distribution System (GDS) and the Internet Distribution System (IDS) are defined as the following:

Global Distribution System (GDS)
The Global Distribution System was originally created by the airline industry to track flight schedules, availability, and pricing schedules. It has evolved in the past few decades into a system that travel agencies and travel agents use automatically generate their own airline reservations for their clients.

Internet Distribution System (IDS)
The Internet Distribution System is a collection of that have huge member bases and specialize in internet marketing of travel and related. These member bases include online travel agents, travel portals, travel search engines/directories, online hotel consolidators and airline websites that offer online travel reservation to travelers.

Today, the GDS and IDS serve as virtual marketplaces where travel inventory sellers such as hotels, airlines, and car rental systems can showcase their wares to a global Internet travel audience. Hotels, resorts, and bed and breakfasts etc that are seeking ways to increase their revenue and online marketing exposure, can use the GDS and IDS to achieve this goal easily and effectively.

Now, that we know what the GDS and IDS are, let us understand why is it important to list your hotel on the GDS and IDS?
Trends in society and their impact on the Hospitality Industry
Today, the reservation process is not as simple as it was 20 years ago. The internet has opened up new gateways, making it easy for people to compare price and package. Here are a few reasons why it has become increasingly important to have an excellent distribution network that encompasses all possible distribution channels.

Consumer demand for online bookings: In the past few years, the demand for online bookings has grown rapidly and hotels can’t afford to ignore this explosive growth opportunity.
  • Forrester Research predicts that travel will remain the number one online retail category and is expected to grow to $119 billion by 2010. (Source: Hotelmarketing.com)
  • In 2007, 60% of online bookings were done through the Global Distribution System (GDS) and the Internet Distribution System (IDS) in 2007. This makes the Global Distribution System and the Internet Distribution System important elements of a hotel’s distribution mix.
Loss of Bookings: Based on the above facts and figures, if your hotel isn’t linked to every connected travel agent and travel website in the world, you have already missed out on many bookings. And, if you do not list your hotel now, you will continue to lose out to your competitors who are already listed.

Increase in Sales: Put your hotel in front of more potential guests and watch room night’s jump.
  • 66%of leisure travelers who are airline and hotel users now go exclusively to the Internet when planning a vacation, 57% report making reservations online. (Source: YPB&R/Y 2007 National Leisure Travel Monitor™).

  • An April 2007 survey conducted for Expedia by Harris Interactive asked travelers where they would turn for accurate information for summer travel planning. Online travel agency was the top response (52%) followed by family or friend recommendation (45%). Rounding out the responses were travel guide books (25%), travel community sites (19%), magazines and newspapers (19%), traditional travel agents (17%) and convention and visitor bureaus (16%).
This makes the Global Distribution System and the Internet Distribution System important elements of a hotel’s distribution mix. Any hotel whose distribution mix does not include GDS and IDS or those hotels that are considering cutting GDS and IDS from their distribution mix should reconsider.

Why? You need to be aware that majority of guests are not brand loyal nor do they have a fixed booking pattern; they simply book from the hotel offering them the best deal. To combat such erratic behavior hotels must maintain a presence on all possible distribution channels if they want a sizeable share of the online market.

Now, that we know why it is vital for hotels to get listed on the GDS and IDS. Let’s discuss the reasons why hotels are not already listed and what has changed in the past two years to eliminate these issues.

Why hotels not using the GDS and IDS?
There are two reasons why most hotels are not listed on the GDS and IDS - Time Consuming Process and Investment Involved.

Time Consuming Process: Getting listed on the GDS and IDS is a complicated and time consuming process as the hotels needed to sign up with each GDS and IDS individually. Moreover, the process to get listed on differs from one GDS to another and the same holds true for the IDSs. This means just the sign up process takes months.

Expense or Investment Involved: Individual sign up processes meant individual fees for each listing i.e. hotels needed to pay separate premiums to each company. This makes getting get listed on the GDS and IDS a very expensive venture that was not a feasible option for small and mid-sized hotels. This meant that having a presence on the GDS and the IDS was limited to large hotel properties and hotel chains.

I am sure you thinking if it is such a long, complicated and expensive process, why am I even considering it?
Well, the situation has changed in the past few years, now you have an option of getting listed on the GDS and IDS for Free!

How to get listed on the GDS and IDS for FREE?
Today, despite the high costs and complex sigh up process, it is no longer impossible for small and mid sized hotels. ResAvenue in association with Pegasus has changed this scenario by offering its partner hotels Free Connectivity to the leading global distribution systems - Sabre, Galileo, Amadeus and Worldspan and as well as hundreds of online travel distributors, including market leaders Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Hotwire through the Pegasus Switch. Hotels who sign up for the ResAvenue solution can now reach 99% of the world’s travel agents free of cost. This means that even small and mid sized hotels can now reach every connected travel agent and hundreds of travel Web sites around the world.

What is ResAvenue?
ResAvenue is an online booking engine with an in-built payment gateway that simply plugs into your hotel website and converts it into a powerful marketing tool which can instantly close a sale at anytime and from anywhere in the world. It has a comprehensive range of online tools that will enable you to manage all of its distribution channels - FIT sales, Corporate sales, GSA or Remote Sales Offices sales, Travel Agent and Room Wholesale Agent sales, Tour Operator sales through a single window interface through any PC with an internet connection.

What does ResAvenue offer its partner hotels?
Well, ResAvenue offers to ‘Free Listing’ on major Global Distribution Systems and thousands of Internet Distribution Systems which would normally cost you approximately 1000-2000$ depending on your hotel’s location (country) and property type. Moreover, ResAvenue only charges you a flat fee of 13.5$ per GDS booking and 11.5$ per IDS booking. This is considerably lower than the flat fee + commission (as negotiated) charged by travel agents or the 10% commission (varies) charged by other service providers. ResAvenue will also help you market your properties, make room inventory available and generate reservations through multiple distribution channels, including travel agencies, tour operators and online consumers…all through a single, cost-effective interface. Hotels who sign up for the ResAvenue solution can now reach 99% of the world’s travel agents free of cost. This cost effective single window interface solution is a marketing opportunity of a lifetime. With ResAvenue, you can stay ahead of competitors!

Your Hotel is listed. Now what?
Maintaining a presence for your hotel once it is listed on the GDS and IDS Once you have signed up for the GDS and IDS, you need to maintain a presence for your hotel, if you want to achieve profitability and 100% occupancy. You can maintain a presence by:
  • Rates & Promotions: Ensure that your rates are competitive and current. Guests will book with whoever is offering them the best deal and if your competitor is offering the exact package for less they will book with him. Similarly, if your package on display is valid from March 2007 to 2008 and it’s already November 2008, you have become your competitions greatest asset.

  • Content: Hotels that perform well have updated content and property. Always check to see if your hotel is being “marketed” in a manner that clearly articulates and represents the features and amenities of your property. If your current graphics and content is not on display, submit the same to the travel website or GDS. Also, make sure all current rates and special offers are presented on all travel websites and GDS. Consumers are looking for the best deals, all the time.

    In this paper, we have spoken about current trends, their effect on the hospitality industry and two important distribution channels that should be a part of any hotel’s distribution mix. We hope this paper has been informative and has helped you understand why the GDS and the IDS are important for you to grow your business.

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