Travel agents are using global distribution systems (GDS) more and at a faster growth rate than other booking channels, according to TravelClick.
A bi-annual report from the technology firm found agents are using Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre and Worldspan 11% more than they did in 2011.
In comparison, their use of other booking tools, phone, ‘mega sites’, direct mail and general hotel directories fell 21% during the two years.
Four in five (81%) agents told TravelClick that rate parity was important to them, with 62% steering away from hotels that offer different rates on GDS to what is offered online.
Around 60% of agents surveyed said they book hotel rooms based on the best available or promotional message than other factors, with advertising drawing them away from negotiated rates. Amenities such as free breakfast or WiFi were also more appealing as agents attempt to add more value to bookings.
“The GDS is more popular with travel agents than ever. This year the GDS is on track to produce 58 million hotel reservations, up 5 million from 2011,” said Jason Ewell, EVP, business intelligence, media and web solutions for TravelClick. “As key influencers in booking decisions, hotels need to merchandise themselves to travel agents at the point of sale through the GDS.”
Hotel websites that offer direct bookings also saw gains, but only of 3%.