Are GDS and IDS the right distribution channels for my hotel?

Understanding GDS and IDS

The term GDS stands for Global Distribution Systems. Originally they were created for the airline industry as a tool for travel agents to make flight bookings. Over time more types of reservations have been added including hotel reservations. The term IDS stands for Internet Distribution Services, this simply refers to the Internet portals that offer hotel reservations. Representation for hotels on one or both of these channels can be highly beneficial when used appropriately for suitable hotels.

Over the past 3 years hotel bookings through both GDS and IDS channels have grown considerably attributing to around sixty percent of online room reservations. The increased number of hotels using GDS has resulted in greater choice for travel agents and greater visibility for hotels.

Is GDS relevant for your hotel?

Many hoteliers invest heavily in GDS connectivity and expect it to work with little effort on their part. This happens time and time again and is usually rooted in lack of understanding. There are a few key common characteristics which make a hotel more suitable for the GDS. Central location or being located close to an airport are ideal attributes for successful GDS connectivity, room capacity of around 25 – 30 or more can also be beneficial. Hotels with some corporate lodgings and hotels that are not affected by changing seasons also tend to be more successful in terms of GDS. This is not a definitive list and there are exceptions, for example some smaller hotels flourish with GDS because of their location.

There are a number of ways to ensure you get the best out of your GDS connections and IDS connections. Choose an established provider which supplies you with a dedicated account manager. Hoteliers must be prepared to learn from and lean on their provider for support network. Always ask for training and if you need more ask again! Remember it is in the best interest of your provider for you to be as successful as possible with your connections. You must participate to reap the rewards.

For suitable GDS and IDS hotels, there couldn’t be a better time to invest. GDS puts your hotel in front of over 650,000 Travel Agents. Travel agents can immediately see your hotel’s rates and availability together with photos and further information. Today, the majority of guests booking online are not loyal to one hotel; they may also have random booking patterns, booking from hotels that on that day are offering them the best deal. To combat such erratic behaviour hotels must maintain a presence across a host of distribution channels and ensure a sizable share of the online market.

Author Note: Samantha Hasler heads up the digital marketing team at GlobRes specializing in Hotel Marketing and Hotel Reservations tools.

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