Today, ASTA released the results of its 2008 Global Distribution System (GDS) Report. The study found that while GDS usage has declined in the past nine years, the vast majority of agencies still use a GDS system.
Alexandria, VA- For some key segments, such as air, the GDS remains the primary booking medium, despite distribution changes. The report is the only one of its kind that specifically examines GDS usage, contracts and distribution trends from the agencies‘ point of view and takes a close look at the reasons agencies use GDSs.
„As an industry we are constantly looking for ways to remain competitive while offering our clients the best service. Many of the innovations we are seeing from GDSs allow travel agents to be more responsive to changing market,“ said ASTA President and CEO Chris Russo. „This study really gets to the heart of what travel agents are looking for in a GDS provider and how, in turn, they use these services.“
Flexibility seems to be the name of the game in all areas pertaining to GDS. For example, when it comes to booking air, the main issue for travel agents is the flexibility to deal with unbundling and non-legacy carriers. Additionally, with respect to GDS contracts, there is a noticeable movement away from contracts based on fixed-rates to „no-minimum“ and productivity-based contracts, allowing agencies more flexibility in how and when they use their GDS for booking. While most contracts are still three years in duration, the number of one- and two-year contracts is beginning to increase, suggesting again that agencies are looking for greater flexibility in what service they use and for how long.
Among the report’s findings:
– The vast majority of ASTA agencies still use a GDS, however usage has decreased 15 percent since 1999.
– Of the 83.2 percent who use a GDS, Sabre remains the primary one used by ASTA agencies since 1999.
– Booking though a GDS remains the dominant method for air, car rental and hotels bookings.
– 54.6 percent of respondents occasionally compare the GDS fares to Internet fares.
– 40.4 percent of respondents said they have a „No-minimum“ pricing plan.
– The majority of respondents (60.0%) receive an incentive credit if they book more segments than is required by their contract.
– ASTA agencies on average produced 13,395 segments.
– About half of respondents (46.1%) have a three year GDS contract.
– The majority of respondents at 58.6 percent plan on renewing their GDS contract but 26.4 percent are not sure.
The ASTA Research Family is comprised of a representative sample of ASTA member travel agency owners and managers. The report indicates a 95% confidence with an error rate +/- 4.9%.
Premium Members will receive this full report for free and travel agent members will receive a free two-page summary, but can also purchase the entire report for $250. The cost for ASTA member suppliers is $350 and $550 for non-members. For additional information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the research page on ASTA.org.