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Why GDS will remain a crucial booking channel for hoteliers in 2017 and beyond

Even though online bookings continue to grow and will do so for the foreseeable future, hoteliers need to maintain a focus on the GDS channel, which will remain a critical source of revenue and bookings both in 2017 and for the next several years.

GDS bookings increased by 11.6 percent year over year from 2015 to 2016 in a sample of over 6,000 hotels worldwide.

And according to Phocuswright’s latest U.S. Online Travel Overview, despite the growth of online booking, offline sales will continue to dominate the marketplace in 2017. Phocuswright estimates that 60 percent of rooms will be booked offline via central reservations systems, property direct channels and travel agents or travel management companies. The majority of bookings via travel agents and travel management companies are GDS bookings.

While it's inevitable that this distribution mix will shift over time, an effective hotel distribution strategy must consider all distribution channels, including GDS, to find the strategy that's best for a particular hotel and market.

For one thing, travelers have more options than ever when they’re shopping for accommodations. Despite some high-profile mergers in recent years, a host of new brands and the growth of the sharing economy mean that the hospitality market will remain fragmented for a long time to come.

At the same time, continuing economic and political changes in North America and Europe mean that the bouts of uncertainty that started with the global financial crisis are likely to continue, making it more difficult to project the outcomes of even a carefully-considered strategy.

But despite years of predictions that agent-booked travel would decrease, GDS bookings remain strong: In our sample of data from Sabre hotels, the number of room nights booked via GDS grew by 1.08 million from 2015 to 2016, an increase of 10.4 percent. These numbers underscore industry analysts’ expectations for growth in this channel.

Successful inventory and distribution management strategies also require the right technology platform – one that’s not only scalable and agile, but easy to use. After all, the best-informed strategy won’t be effective if a hotel doesn’t have the right tools to implement, monitor and support it.

SynXis Central Reservations enables hoteliers to distribute seamlessly through the GDS, supporting a multitude of rate, inventory and distribution strategies to help you achieve your business goals.

Contact a Sabre account manager today to learn more about SynXis Central Reservations, and find out how your hotel could increase ADR revenue and make distribution simpler not only for GDS, but for every channel your hotel relies on.

Hugh Fisher
Data Storyteller

As data storyteller for Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Hugh analyzes industry data and researches trends impacting hotel revenue, bookings and guest experience. He has an MBA with concentrations in Marketing Management and Decision Analytics from the Jenkins Graduate School of Management, NC State University.

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