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Global Distribution Systems (GDSs)

Global Distribution Systems or GDSs are computerized networks that aggregate travel product inventory and enable reservations. They serve as intermediaries between travel product providers (airlines, hotels, car rental companies, etc.) that publish their inventory, availability, schedules, and rates – and travel agents and other resellers who want to book these products. 

Major GDSs that control around 97 percent of the bookings market are 

  • Amadeus that dominates in Europe and holds about 40 percent of the market,
  • Sabre that is the leader in North American and Asian markets with about 35 percent of the distribution, and 
  • Travelport with a market share of about 22 percent. 

GDSs are one of the main sources of inventory for online travel agencies (OTAs), travel management companies (TMCs), tour operators, and other travel resellers. These distributors can search and book travel services either through manual terminals or via APIs.