Monday, November 12, 2007

GDSs and the little guy

Guest blogger post from Colin Lewis, head of sales and marketing at Aer Arann:

The way low-cost airlines view of the GDS as a distribution method is currently changing.

Over the last year we’ve seen a number of airlines such as Jetblue, Jetstar Asia and Valuair signing distribution deals with GDSs.

The most recent sees Easyjet’s announcement a few weeks back of its new distribution deals with both Amadeus and Galileo. Whilst some airlines have slammed this decision, I think it’s important not to miss the point here.

A large percentage of business travel bookings are driven through a corporate travel agent in order that businesses can effectively track their budgets as part of a larger controlled fiscal process.

As a result, to ignore corporate travel agents as a source of new business would be a mistake for most airlines.

The bottom line is – if you want to sell to business travellers, you need to participate in GDS’s.

Most of the business is incremental – Aer Arann receives 90% of their business via direct internet bookings, and this has not changed with greater GDS participation. Business travellers are also higher yield

I can’t help but consider that the strong response elicited by other low-cost airlines may have been in a bid to achieve column inches.

It is noticeable that once low cost airlines evolve and became more sophisticated, they start distributing on the GDS to reach newer, higher yield market – and what airline does not want higher yield?

There is no doubt that the GDS and the corporate travel agent are an essential part of our distribution system, and long may that continue.

Colin Lewis, head of sales and marketing, Aer Arann

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