9 of 10 agencies still use GDS

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Art PfenningThe number of travel agencies using a GDS to make reservations this year is flat and has been at roughly at the same percentage (90%) since 2001, when there was a relatively large drop of seven percentage points, according to a recent survey.

Travel Weekly, in partnership with ASTA, surveyed ASTA agencies regarding the usage of GDSs. A questionnaire was distributed to the 2004 Research Family members (a panel of travel agents who accurately reflect ASTAs membership) via fax in July. The survey yielded 425 responses.

The majority of agencies polled (95%) only use one GDS, and Sabre remains the most popular -- 32% use Sabre and 25% use Galileo.

GDS market share has remained relatively constant and shown only minor fluctuations from year to year. Additionally, a majority of agents, 53%, named Sabre as the No. 1 system when asked which GDS is the technology leader. Amadeus was picked as a leader by 23%.

Interestingly, although 25% use Galileo, only 14% think the Cendant-owned company is a technology leader.

ASTA agents book close to 90% of all air transactions on a GDS. Agents use a GDS much less frequently for booking cruises and tours. Only 34% of all tours are booked on a GDS and even fewer cruises, 29% are booked on a GDS.

Art Pfenning is the research director for Northstar Travel Media, Travel Weeklys parent company. Send e-mail to [email protected].

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