With everything going digital, travel businesses too embraced digitalization to sustain in this extremely competitive market, grow and multiply their profits. Initially, travellers relied on travel agents to get their travel bookings done. However, there has been a paradigm shift in this trend after the introduction of travel mobile apps. Moreover, travel businesses are now incomplete without GDS API integration for their inventory needs.
GDS integration services are a core part of a travel business. They help online travel agencies to tackle challenges and provide customers with access to travel inventory. The best GDS APIs for the Middle East are Amadeus, Sabre, and Travelport GDS. They have the largest market share in terms of global distribution systems and are also the main competitors.
What are the best GDS APIs?
Essentially, GDS API is a booking network that provides a single access point for travel agents, travel websites, businesses and travellers to book flight tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, etc. The top GDS integration services in the world are provided by Amadeus, Travelport (Worldspan and Galileo), and Sabre. However, in this blog, we will be discussing the best GDS API’s in the Middle East for hotels and airlines.
One of the leading global distribution system providers, Travelport has its headquarters in the UK. It comprises of Worldspan, Apollo, and Galileo GDS. Initially, this GDS focused on the airline sector but now it also covers hotel rooms and products with its services. In fact, in 2008 Travelport processed 1 trillion transactions globally on its platform.
Travelport gained prominence with its unique initiative to provide a B2B payment solution in the travel domain for secure travel transactions. Moreover, it also gained its place through its additional services such as business intelligence data services, advertising solutions, subscription services, travel providers and data users, and analogical marketing tools.
Travelport is less dependant on its home market in comparison to its competitors Sabre and Amadeus. Its market is evenly distributed around the world in different countries and continents. The major benefit of Travelport GDS is for the hoteliers who are able to connect with travel agencies across the world and distribute their products. It provides a single point for hotels to manage their property listings, provide photos, pricing, information on amenities and a description of the property.
Headquartered in Spain, Amadeus GDS is the largest distribution system connecting more than 700 airlines for booking flight tickets. The main focus of the GDS was airlines which later was also extended to hotel rooms, cruises, car rental, train travel, and ferry reservations.
Amadeus connects with more than 90 low coast carriers and enables flight booking through e-ticketing, light ticketing, and ticketless booking. The Amadeus API facilitates travel agents and other travellers to find flight fares, pay for tickets, access flight information, or book ancillary services. The other benefits of using the Amadeus GDS are access to a large inventory of travel contents, instant booking, real-time information on price fluctuations and availability, etc.
As per reports by the corporate communications manager of Amadeus IT Group, the total bookings for online travel in the Middle East were 29% and expected to cross 40% by 2021, while the expected growth of total gross bookings is 8% till 2020.
With a stronghold in the US market, Sabre is one of the largest GDS providers in the airline sector. It has its headquarters in Texas, US. As per estimates about 60,000 travel agencies across the globe use Sabre to see their travel products. Sabre experiences a larger booking of hotel and related products when compared to flight tickets, despite having a smaller market than Amadeus.
Sabre distributes its APIs in eight groups being airlines, hotels, cruises, trip management, utility, session management, profiles, car rentals, and railways. It provides travel agents with access to global hotel inventories for 24 hours and offers technology solutions for the hospitality industry.
Although Sabre is present in the EMEA region, however, it doesn’t have a large market share in the Middle East as it mostly serves the US. The Sabre GDS connects 440 airlines, 40 car rental companies, 175,000 hotel properties, 17 cruise lines, and 50 railway carriers in 40,000 destinations.
The other XML/API suppliers providing their services particularly in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Israel) are Special Tours, World AVenues, and DOTW (Destinations of the World).
The Middle East countries such as Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have experienced a hike in flight bookings over the past year. As a matter of fact, Saudi Arabia experienced an increase in bookings by 6% through all the GDS providers and Egypt experienced an increase in bookings by 3%.
Choosing which GDS API to sign up with can be confusing for travel agents as each one of the GDS suppliers offers different services and claims to solve problems prevalent in the travel industry while maximizing sales, reducing costs and increasing profits for the travel businesses.
Therefore the question about which GDS API among Amadeus, Sabre, and Travelport is the best can only be answered depending upon your travel business and factors such as your niche, scale of business, etc.