Wednesday, 4 July 2007

GDS Next Generation

The GDS' are the distribution backbone for travel agents, in-house corporate travel departments, and many of the Internet distribution systems like Expedia. They deliver rates and availability information for travel covering air, hotel and car rentals. The information is delivered to the travel agent, so that it appears on their desktop computer using special software to search, display rates and book.
The GDS' Hotel information was originally all input by hand and this is still done manually in many cases. Pegasus employed a house full of workers to do this work, much of this is now out sourced to India. The process is very tedious and time prone to error. Once the information is loaded software system maintain the rate and inventory changes in all GDS. The Pegasus Switch coordinates hotel information bewteen gds sytsems. Data from hotel chains, Internet sites and GDS agents all at some piont use this switch.

To avoid delays and errors hotels and their technology providers opted to integrate the GDS information with their own reservations and property management solutions. This was called seamless integration. 2 way seamless refers to the systems that can manage GDS rates from the hotel CRS or PMS. One way integration simply means the hotel system can view the GDS sales but not manage the data.
Seamless Integration is not the same as NEXT GENERATION.
Next Generation capability was built by the GDS to allow compatible systems to input the data directly into the GDS´s. There are several such sytems in place. (list of services). This means that a hotel might use an online form to input their rates and data and this goes directly into the GDS. It substantially reduces the time to get to market and eliminates some errors when re-keying data. GDS sold this option to vendors who it turn incorporated it into their hotel solutions. Some setup shop as GDS agents to offer this service.

The technology to update a mainframe is not trivial. It involves robotics that interface online internet system with GDS mainframe computers. Mainframes are not Internet savvy computers and cannot be accessed directly to change and add data. The data is sent via packets relayed on telecommunications network. The packet relay is interpreted by the Mainframe. As these mainframes are all different systems, protocols and standards were created. Mainframes also have very specific rules on what characters are accepted. Charters and in some cases words act as tigers to set off process in a mainframe, so the information sent to a mainframe must be accurate and comply with their rules. Even years after implementation the GDS-load process was finding errors in data integrity. A simple quotation mark can trigger a failure with disastrous results.
The Pegasus switch (originally called thisco, now called Utraswitch) is not a next generation technology. That is why Pegasus bought a similar system developed by Trust that was. Pegasus plans to upgrade all system by 2008 with conversions starting with hotel factory (their Central reservation system) in November 2007. Pegasus PR


Next Generation provides GDS users with real-time rates and availability that is 100% identical to the information used by a hotel company's own reservations staff. The information is more quickly available and more accurate resulting in increased confidence and usability by agents. With NEXT generation Seamless, agents are more inclined to sell more using the GDS rather than book via telephone to assure their clients the lowest rates. Galileo Inside Shopper, Worldspan Integrated Hotel Source, Sabre Direct Connect Shop, the respective GDS' Next Generation Seamless products, were implemented by 2004.

GDS Chain Codes

© Ian Clayton, AXSES SCI 2007.
see arcRes solutions for tourism, AXSES web Solution

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