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Travel Agent Resources

What is GDS?

By Courtney Eisen

January 9, 2024

Have you ever wondered how travel agents find the best flights, hotels, and car rentals so quickly? They use a powerful tool called a Global Distribution System, or GDS for short. This system is like a huge digital network that connects travel service providers with travel agents.

How Does GDS Work?

Imagine a giant virtual supermarket, but instead of food, it's filled with travel options. Airlines, hotels, and car rental companies put their services in this "supermarket." Then, travel agents can go shopping for their customers, picking out the perfect flight or hotel from the shelves of the GDS.

The Benefits of Using GDS

GDS offers several benefits:

  • Wide Selection: GDS offers a wide range of travel products, making it easier to compare prices and schedules.

  • Time-Saving: It saves time because all the information is in one place.

  • Up-to-Date Information: The details on GDS are always current, so there's less chance of booking something that's not available.

  • Extra Features: Travel agents can also see if there are any special deals or if they can add extras like meals on flights.

Who Uses GDS?

GDS isn't just for travel agents. Airlines use it to sell tickets to bigger audiences, and hotels use it to reach guests who might not find them otherwise. Even big companies use GDS to book trips for their employees.

The Big Players in GDS

There are a few major GDS systems out there:

  • Amadeus: Popular in Europe and widely used around the world.

  • Sabre: Based in the USA, it has a large share of the market.

  • Travelport: This includes Galileo and Worldspan, which are also big names in the travel industry.

The Future of GDS

Even though we have lots of online booking websites now, GDS is still super important. It's getting better, too, with new technology making it even more useful for travel agents and their customers.

The Challenges of GDS

While GDS systems are immensely useful, they can be difficult to learn. They have a DOS-like interface, and each host agency has different commands for the system. When researching host agencies, it's important to choose one that offers GDS training and support. This system is not something that can be self-taught by Googling.

At LuxRally Travel, we not only provide GDS training but are building tools in our agent portal to reskin the interface so that it is more intuitive and requires fewer prompts. Agents who are able to use GDS have an easier time cross-shopping vendors to ensure they have the best price, benefits, and most accurate information.


In conclusion, GDS is a key part of the travel industry. It helps travel agents give us the best choices when we're planning our next adventure. So next time you book a trip, remember there's a good chance a GDS made it happen! If you're interested in becoming a travel agent, consider joining our free travel agent training program. With the right training and tools, you can master the GDS and quickly book trips for your clients, increasing your productivity and, consequently, your earnings per hour.

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