Report: Independent hoteliers saw 34.5 percent surge in GDS bookings last year

GDS reservations rose 51.2 percent compared to a decade ago in 2014

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Bookings through the global distribution system rose by 34.5 percent in 2023 over the previous year, with a 4.2 percent increase compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, according to HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts. Direct booking rose 22.5 percent last year compared to 2022 and bolstering by 80.2 percent from its pre-pandemic level.

INDEPENDENT HOTELS RECEIVE favorable deals via the global distribution system, according to HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts. Reservations through the GDS rose by 34.5 percent over the past year, with a 4.2 percent increase compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Direct booking maintained high growth rates, increasing by 22.5 percent in 2023 compared to 2022 and strengthening by 80.2 percent against its pre-pandemic standing, said HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts in its recent Independent Accommodation Insights report.

GDS reservations surged by 51.2 percent compared to a decade ago in 2014, the report added.

“The way hotels and aparthotels find and secure their sales has vastly changed in the last 20 years,” said Mark Lewis, HotelREZ founder and CEO. “Direct booking on a property’s own website accounts for around a third of all bookings, with OTAs about half that. The GDS is often incorrectly regarded as a relic of travel booking. Yet, our booking data shows the GDS has been experiencing consistent growth in the last 10 years and is the dominant booking channel, straddling both leisure and corporate business.”

HotelREZ, a UK-based hotel representational company founded in 2004, has seen a significant increase in mobile direct booking for its clients. Since 2019, mobile direct bookings have more than doubled, rising from 15 percent to 32 percent of all direct bookings by 2023, the company said.

GDS, preferred by travel agents and travel management companies, was among the first channels to rebound after the pandemic, highlighting its value and commercial opportunity, HotelREZ claimed.

“The GDS drives high value bookings thanks to the relationships between travel advisors and their buyers,” said Daniel Simmons, HotelREZ’s chief commercial officer. “The pandemic highlighted the importance of having an expert handling your booking if something goes wrong within procurement, CSR and sustainability control. Post-pandemic, we’re seeing more business travelers restricted by corporate social responsibility guidelines and increased need for bill-back facilities. Using the expertise of agents and having access to self-booking tools is a preferred option for the corporate booker rather than using a public OTA.”

Meanwhile, HotelREZ’s Channel Connect serves as the company’s alternative to a channel manager, enabling the central reservations system to link properties with more than 600 travel websites, the company said. Furthermore, Channel Connect reservations increased by 39.5 percent year-on-year, marking a 63 percent increase compared to 2019 pre-pandemic levels and a remarkable growth of more than 4,609 percent compared to 2014.

The report also highlighted several post-pandemic trends that boosted bookings and GDS usage, such as a robust SME corporate market, the dominance of larger TMCs, and the rise of third-party GDS self-booking tools alongside home-working leisure travel agencies.

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s 2024 Economic Impact Research recently revealed that the travel and tourism sector will contribute over $2.5 trillion to the state exchequer in 2024, constituting nearly 9 percent of the U.S. economy. Moreover, it is anticipated to employ approximately 18.8 million people nationwide, representing one in nine American workers.