Industry leader says agents will distribute using a mixed model
Travel agents in the future will distribute airline content via both GDSs and direct connections with airlines. The CEO of Priceline, the US online agency that owns the Europe-based hotel reservation organisation Booking.com, claims that this mixed model will be the norm going forward. The direct-connect currently being pushed by American Airlines will only be part of the story due to the resilience, technology and versatility of the GDS.
“Because they represent such a large and important distribution channel and because they have economies of scale, over time if there are other products, ancillaries and functionality being made available on a direct-connect basis, I believe the GDSs have the technology and the will to provide that functionality to their agency customers as well,” Jeff Boyd said.
Some airlines, he added, may select a single large agency to employ a direct connection, but many other airlines will prefer to operate through the GDSs. Indeed, American Airlines has shown no signs of dispensing with the GDS model altogether.