Introduction to Sabre GDS (Global Distribution System)

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What is a GDS?

A GDS (Global Distribution System) is a worldwide distribution network, giving travel agents the ability to book more or less any travel items throughout the world. Sabre is a GDS, used by travel agents to research travel options, check prices and book reservations for every types of travel services, from airline flights, rental cars, to hotel rooms.

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  1. Sabre is amongst the popular GDS’s used around the world. Computer’s, IT and telecom play an important role in the travel industry. Independent travel companies use complex Computerised Reservation Systems (CRS), to control their inventory with telecom connecting their systems to different computers throughout the globe.
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A GDS is comparable to a CRS, but used mainly for sales and issuing. It keeps statistics for thousands of different travel suppliers permitting travel experts to compare prices and services amongst sellers.

Reservations made by Sabre GDS, get transmitted to and kept in the travel agent’s computer system CRS.

For instance, when GDS is used to book a flight on British Airways, the reservation’s data is sent to airline’s private CRS. In few cases, the airline’s private CRS is GDS’s Sub-system, but the information is stored separately.

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The travel agent is allowed to work on and modify a booking, through the local copy of reservation kept in Sabre.

The airline’s and Sabre copy of the booking are linked, allowing each other to be notified of any changes being made, such as cancelling a flight or confirming a special request.

Amongst the strengths of a GDS, is it contains majority of travel-related data. Some of this data comes from the travel company’s own computer system CRS.

The GDS receives other data through aggregator services, such as ATPCO, OAG and INNOVATA. This shall be explained in the next blog.


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