EEK.. it looks like you are using a browser that doesn't support script, please consider upgrading your browser in order to use this site. You can check out your current browser here

Reservations: 855-453.8589

Text to Book: 702.800.2717

  • Text us your desired city and dates.
  • We will text you back with pricing and availability.

How Business Travelers Can Save Time With The Global Distribution System (GDS)

March 17th, 2017 /

My favorite travel agent is a gruff, middle-aged man who works in a small office down the street. He’s owned the agency for twenty-five years and knows just about everything there is to know about the travel industry. He’s the first person I turn to when I need help planning and booking a vacation or a complex business trip.

Other than being an expert on travel, Tom also has a powerful tool at his disposal: the Global Distribution System, or GDS. It’s a database of every single flight, hotel, and ground transport, listed in a completely unbiased manner for ease of comparison.

With one click, Tom can book an entire month-long, four-country itinerary and pay for the entire trip (flights, hotels, you name it) in a single transaction. No need for booking all over the interwebs, getting lost in deals and not-so-good-deals, and debating whether you event want to go on the trip at all. The GDS is a complex tool that business travelers are widely unaware of—and that’s something that should change.

The GDS is a powerful database for travel.

Image by Flickr user Jer Thorp.

What You Need To Know About The GDS

Travel agencies use the holy trinity of database software to access the GDS—Amadeus, SABRE, and Travelport. You may have heard those names before during your online travel searching pursuits. Each company does basically the same thing: connect travel agents to the massive global travel database with an interface they can use to search and book instantly.

On some of the more user-friendly interfaces, you can compare the prices of twenty different hotels within a half-mile radius at a single glance. Click on the list, and you’re presented with a map of their respective locations. If any of them are running a special promotion, that will pop up on your screen as well. With a single click, you can pull up the TripAdvisor reviews for any of the properties. And that’s just with booking hotels. The GDS allows agents to book flights and ground transport (along with cruises and tours) just as easily.

Unlike online travel agencies like Expedia and Orbitz, the data you receive from the GDS is unbiased. It comes directly from the travel providers themselves, without any crazy adjustment for third party commissions, OTA agreements, and other nonsense. You can see all the conditions for each purchase instantly and without hassle—so you’ll know whether or not you’re purchasing a nonrefundable flight or if your fare class comes with one or two items of luggage. If you know how to work the system, this becomes the Rosetta Stone of travel info.

Travel agents access a massive and complex database to book for their clients.

Travel agents access a massive and complex database to book for their clients. Image by Flickr user Anthony Easton.

Why The GDS Is An Exclusive Club

I don’t know about you, but hearing about the power of GDS makes me really excited. Why can’t I use this software? I’d save so much time and money by not having to go to ten different websites and complete the same number of credit card transactions. Why isn’t this dream scenario becoming our business travel reality?

The big answer to my “why” questions came from Tom, who informed me that he teaches college-level courses on using GDS. Even at the end of a full semester, his students aren’t equipped to access the full capability of the database in their careers as travel agents.

Between insanely cryptic commands, somewhat-outdated interfaces, and a travel industry built around ever-more complex algorithms, fees, and regulations, it’s just impossible for the average person to tap into this resource. It takes travel agents years to learn how to effectively utilize the GDS. And that’s time you and I don’t have.

Booking travel isn’t—and may never be—simple, even with the GDS.

Booking travel isn’t—and may never be—simple, even with the GDS. Image by Flickr user Chris Betcher.

How You Can Still Win Big With Business Travel

The good news is, I was assured that no matter where I shop—at hotel websites, on Expedia, or with a travel agent who uses GDS—the rates are exactly the same. Rate parity strikes again, and, as Tom put it, “the only thing travel agents are selling is time.” But we all know that in the business world, time is money. Currently, travel agents are the only certified users of this powerful tool, so our only way of accessing the GDS’s benefits is through their services.  

Having a travel agent book your business trip may seem like an unnecessary extra step, but it’s what big corporations often do to get their complex itineraries ironed out quickly. Most agents use the GDS as their primary reservation tool. Although you’re paying very little extra for their help, you’re receiving the instant support of a professional who can reroute your flights, book you a new hotel room, and answer your most pertinent travel questions immediately from anywhere in the world. In my opinion, it’s totally worth it.

I call Tom to book complex trips for my staff and my family, but I rely on another kind of travel agent to book hotels for regular business trips. My personal reservationist at JetLux Hotels frees me from just as much hassle—and my membership actually saves me up to 40% off the listed hotel rates across the country. If you’re into saving time and effort on business travel, it’s a win-win situation that you won’t want to pass up. Reach out to us today to learn more about how JetLux can help your travel experience run smoother than ever before.

Comments are closed.

The hotel solution for the traveling professional

JetLux Hotels

Reservations: 855-453.8589

Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved.
$15 transaction fee is charged per reservation.
*Available in most cases