What is a GDS and How Can Tours & Activities Work With Them?

What is a GDS and How Can Tours & Activities Work With Them?

In order to increase online distribution and maximize booking potential, tour and activity operators need to be able to work effectively with global distribution systems, or GDS.

If a tour or activity provider does not integrate with the GDS, then agents — both online and offline — will not be able to access their tours or excursions.

What is a GDS?

A global distribution system, or GDS, is a reservation system that is used by all types of travel agents. Both retail travel agents and online travel agents access a GDS on a daily basis in order to make reservations for their clients.

Essentially, this system allows a tour and activity provider to manage its reservations while also communicating with its customers. Agents will access this system in order to check availability on flights, accommodations, transportation, tours and activities.

The GDS is an extensive network that provides travelers and agents with real-time information about availability of flights, rentals, accommodations and tours.

Given the fact that all information is presented in real-time, agents can make reservations and bookings in a matter of minutes. They use the GDS in order to secure the best rates and available times for the customers that they are working with.

GDS’ are continually evolving in order to compete with the instantaneous nature of the Internet, and it’s essential that tour and activity providers integrate with a GDS in order to access as many customers as possible from different areas of the globe.

How can you work with a GDS?

In order to work effectively with a GDS, you need to use a channel manager that effectively integrates with the most reliable GDS systems.

Your channel manager should integrate with your booking system too, giving you the opportunity to customize your options and update your availability. For example, you can identify any dates that you are unavailable with your booking system, and the channel manager will automatically adjust your availability with the GDS.

Some tips for working with a GDS include:

  • Utilize a resource-dependent calendar, like the one offered in Rezdy. These calendars will adjust your availability based on the resources that you have in your inventory. For example, if you only have one tour bus, this calendar will adjust your availability once that bus is no longer able to conduct tours for the day.
  • Set your black-out dates in your online booking system, and it will automatically update the GDS. Taking a two-week holiday from your business has never been easier!
  • Offer access to your live inventory. Without an effective channel manager connection to the GDS you use, you will never be able to update your availability across all of the channels that you use to sell your tours and activities. A channel manager that integrates with your online booking system will manage all channels for you, and ensures that your live availability is accurate in the GDS.


In order to begin managing your bookings and increasing your online distribution, sign up for a free trial with Rezdy today.

By continuing to use this website you agree to the use of cookies according to our privacy policy and terms.