CONTINUED FROM PAGE 50
age of 16. 3 years.
The largest percentage, 22.7%,
have used the same system for 15 to
20 years. Another 16.4% have used
the same vendor for 20 to 25 years,
and more than one in 10 ( 12.4%)
have used the same system for more
than 25 years.
At the other extreme, only 14.4%
have used the same system for five
years or less.
Since GDSs became available to
agents in the late 1970s, Sabre has led
the market for installations, and that
continues to be the case (see chart at
In the last four years, Amadeus has
experienced the most growth among
ASTA agencies, 6%, whereas Galileo
has suffered the greatest shrinkage,
11%. Worldspan, Travelport’s other
brand, also had some loss, 3.6%.
Only 12% of agents use more than
one GDS brand, and that share is up
slightly from 2007, when 10.3% said
they used at least one other system.
Most GDS users (84.1%) said they
contract for their system directly with
the vendor; about one in 10 ( 11.5%)
contract for the service through a
GDS hosting arrangement, and the
remaining 4.3% share the costs of a
GDS deal with another agency.
The average installation is 7. 8 terminals, up from 7. 3 in 2006 and 2007
and around four or five units in the
years prior, according to the ASTA
research. The Society believes this
rise in average installation reflects
The vast majority of agents now
communicate with their GDSs via
the Internet, while 15.4% still access
their systems with dedicated circuits.
When asked to name one or more
of 11 factors that matter most when
selecting a GDS, three-quarters of respondents checked functionality.
About two-thirds (68.7%) cited access to Web fares. Technical support
was third, cited by 53.3%. Financial
incentives came in fourth, cited by
41.6% of respondents. Availability of
GDSs Used by ASTA Agents*
* Among the 83% of agents who use a GDS
a GDS corporate booking tool came
in dead last with this particular survey group, cited by 15.4%.
For those who have considered
giving up a GDS but reconsidered,
ASTA wanted to know what persuaded agents to renew. Ease/speed
of booking was cited by 40.5% of
this group. In addition, 27.6% said
there was no viable alternative with
the same content, and 26.5% said the
GDS has the better selection of travel
options, which means roughly the
Finding the lowest fares was not
overwhelmingly important: It came
in fourth on this list, cited by about
one in five ( 19.4%).
Indeed, most GDS subscribers
GDS pricing with airfares on the
make the comparison, and another
third ( 35.1%) said they usually do.
Only one in 10 said they don’t make
For all the looking around, GDS
subscribers still book more of their
air business through the GDS than
any other travel segment.
On average, they said, they book
81.6% of their air in the GDS, followed by 68.7% of car rentals, 60.7%
of hotel reservations, 39.6% of rail,
24.4% of cruise, 20.6% of travel insurance and 17.3% of tours.
Comparing the data with other recent surveys, ASTA said it detected a
slight shift away from the GDSs and
back to using the telephone to book
cruises and tours.
There are several likely explanations. As some travelers take more
of the easy-to-book business to the
Web, agents are more often handling
the more complex or special-request
situations that require a telephone
conversation. Another, and perhaps
complementary, explanation is that
agents are stepping up efforts to ensure clients get precisely the cruise
cabin or tour features they want.
ASTA said nearly half of its respondents, or 46.1%, signed three-year contracts with GDS vendors.
Another quarter ( 23.5%) had five-year deals, and considerably smaller
percentages had one-, two- or four-year agreements.
A final category, encompassing 11.7%, included agencies with
month-to-month agreements or
Nearly half, 44%, said they did not
receive incentives to sign. More than
a quarter ( 28.4%) said they received
named various non-monetary
such as equipment or things like
debt forgiveness or waiver of shortfall penalties.
For many, though, contracts include a number of add-on service
features, with itinerary invoicing
cited by nearly two-thirds (63.5%).
Around half ( 54.4%) have rights
to passive segment usage in certain situations and to free training
Most GDS users
check prices against
airfares on Web.