NEW YORK – TravelClick, a global provider of innovative cloud-based solutions that enable hotels to grow revenue, and Phoenix Marketing International, a market research firm, recently concluded a study of more than 900 travel agents who are located throughout 48 countries, which revealed that travel agents are reporting a record use of Global Distribution Systems (GDS) to make hotel reservations. The 2015 Global Travel Agent GDS study surveyed travel agents worldwide who use Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport.
Advertising on the GDS opens doors for hoteliers
Over half of global travel agents who were surveyed (51 percent) reported that they are using the GDS more often compared to the past two years. Additionally, over a quarter (29 percent) of travel agents who were surveyed said that they are using GDS shopping displays more often compared to the past two years, and nearly two-thirds (65 percent) said that they are aware of the GDS promotional text messages.
Furthermore, among those who were aware of these promotional messages, nearly a quarter (24 percent) request additional information by viewing the screen that’s attached to the promotional message, and 29 percent look inside of the GDS system for this information. Sixty-nine percent of travel agents also reported that they will book a great hotel offer regardless of advertising screen type.
“Travel agents around the world are increasingly utilizing the GDS for hotel research and reservations,” said John Hach, senior industry analyst, TravelClick. “This study correlates with our business intelligence projections that 2015 will be a record year for GDS hotel bookings. The growth reinforces the importance for hoteliers to pay extra attention to the GDS, especially as it is one of the highest average daily rate channels for maximizing revenue per available room (RevPAR).”
Over half of agents stated that they book away from hotels that do not offer best rates within GDS Rate parity – maintaining consistent rates for the same product on all online distribution channels – remains a vital issue for global travel agents, as they were virtually unanimous in their belief that GDS systems should offer rate parity (96 percent considered this somewhat or very important). Over half of agents stated that they actively book away from hotels that do not offer their best rates within the GDS, and if there is a better rate that’s outside of the GDS, a travel agent will book through that channel. Agents also universally reported that they actively work to save their corporate clients money, as 47 percent stated that they book best available rates over negotiated rates to save on hotel room costs.
“This year’s study is the most comprehensive to date, and travel agents were universal in their support for GDS rate parity and offering best available rate options to corporate travelers with negotiated rates,” added Hach.
The importance of value-added inclusions remains strong
Amenities are still driving global travel agent behavior, with complimentary breakfast and free Internet scoring the highest ratings. Among those surveyed who indicated that amenities and offers geared toward the traveler are appealing, the most appealing amenities include free breakfast meals (83 percent), special rates (77 percent), free Internet (72 percent), free upgrades (62 percent), free night stays (50 percent) and star / consumer review ratings (43 percent).