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Central Reservation System and Global Distribution System in Travel Technology: What’s the difference?

If you are planning to enter into the travel industry it is essential to know the difference between these terms. It will help you to gain more web presence and sell your services effectively to travelers.




What is the difference between Central Reservation System (CRS) and Global Distribution System (GDS) in Travel Technology?


If you are looking to launch an online travel agency it is important to understand the difference between these terms. It will assist you in increasing your online visibility and effectively selling your services to travelers.

To clear up the confusion, we'll explain the differences between all of these terms in simple Terms.

Once you understand the distinction between CRS and GDS, you can increase your business exposure to travel agencies, OTAs, and Meta search websites. This technology automatically updates these third-party channels, saving you valuable time.

If your establishment is not attracting enough tourists, or if you are attracting the false customer segment, it could be worthwhile to invest in a CRS or GDS System.


What are CRS (Central Reservation System) and GDS (Global Distribution System)?


GDS (Global Distribution System)


A Global Distribution System, or GDS, is a computerized reservation network that serves as a middleware between travel agents and a wide range of travel service providers. 

It collects inventory, schedules, and fares from providers and allows agents and OTAs to search and book them, with OTAs using connectivity APIs and agents using a manual terminal. 

The concept of a Global Distribution System was initiated due to the necessity to distribute air tickets.

In the 1960s, the global distribution system, or GDS, was developed for use in the airline industry. This industry required travel agents to automate their reservation processes to more efficiently access data about flight times, seat availability, and fares. 

In the twenty-first century, over half a million travel agents connect to the GDS each day to book hotels, flights, holiday activities, and car hire. If you’re unfamiliar with this technology or are researching different options before purchasing a system, here's what you need to know.

A global distribution system (GDS) is a huge database that stores and updates huge amounts of information about inventory and hotel rates for travel agencies and websites. This system is responsible for the exponential growth of the tourism industry and was the stepping stone of most internet-based travel services.

Travel agents/agencies can use this system to access real-time availability, pricing, and offers for flight tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, cruise reservations, trains, and other services. When applied to large rates, hotels sell their rooms on GDS for 30% less.

A GDS's primary function is to assist travel agents who are looking for hotels that meet specific criteria. These business-to-business systems are used by organizations to stay updated on information about travel arrangements, like hotel room availability.

This allows consumers to make bookings on demand. This technology gives travel experts a common point of entry to access real-time data about travel booking.


Few highlights:


  • It is the primary reservation tool used by travel agents.

  • GDS is a platform that allows travel agencies and their clients to access travel data.

  • It sends live data to travel agencies and online booking websites, such as price and availability and allows for transactions.

  • GDS is commonly used in the corporate travel market because it consolidates flight, hotel, and car rental bookings into a single interface.

  • Travel agencies use GDS-enabled products to provide travel-related services to their clients.


How important is GDS to travel agents


  • Travel agents or agencies use the GDS system to search for the best option in terms of travel, hotel amenities.

  • The GDS system also supports travel websites such as, Trip Advisor, and others.

  • GDS offers useful features such as airfare searches, availability, connectivity, policies, and so on.

  • Travel agents/agencies now use more sophisticated GDS systems to find the best available option, whether it's an airline booking or a hotel booking.

  • Travel agents/agencies can complete their search and book within minutes with the help of the GDS system.


The best known global GDSs are




The Top GDS systems currently used for travel booking are Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre, Worldspan, and Apollo. Let's take a closer look at these popular platforms.


1] Amadeus


  • Operating over 30 years.

  • The world's largest network of any GDS.

  • The leading transaction processor of the global travel industry provides advanced technologies to travel agencies.

  • The company handles complex transactions between travel sellers and travel providers.


2] Galileo


  • Owned by Travelport. Travelport Worldwide Ltd has a large geographical presence in the travel industry.

  • In addition to flight booking, it is used to book trains, cars, and hotels.

  • It is a member of the Global Air Transport Association.


3] Sabre


  • Pioneer for revenue management, corporate booking tools, web, and mobile itinerary tools.

  • Sabre Travel Network is a set of solutions that incorporate the GDS.

  • Provides products and solutions to the global travel industry.

  • Provides travel agencies with key services and software solutions.


4] Worldspan


  • It is a Travelport platform.

  • Technology leader in web-based travel.

  • Provides technologies and services to global travel companies.


5] Apollo 


  • Allows travel agents to book flight tickets, vacation packages, hotel rooms, and other services.

  • Provides technology, online distribution, payments, and other services to the tourism industry.


Central Reservation System (CRS)


A central reservation system (CRS) or computer reservation system is an automated reservation system used to store information, retrieve information, and conduct air travel transactions.

The system was originally crafted to be used by airlines and was later extended for the use of travel agents. These days, it is also used to store and distribute data about tourism products or services to customers.

A central reservation system, or CRS, is designed for the hospitality sector – and is unique for hotel operations – to manage available rooms and rates.

These systems distribute relevant data across multiple distribution channels, including GDS, meta-search engines, and OTAs (online travel agencies). When rates are changed or bookings are made, the CRS automatically updates your hotel's rates and availability across all channels.

Bookings made through these third-party channels are immediately transferred to the CRS before being logged in the property management system so that rooms can be allocated.

CRS and GDS might have the same functions but the major difference between these two systems is that CRS only provides information about airlines whereas by using GDS you can reserve a ticket, a room in a hotel, and also a rental car. This is why they are called Global Distribution Systems because you can use GDS to book everything.

The term CRS is not much used as it became part of a larger system known as the Passenger Service System (PSS) which consists of CRS, an airline inventory system, and the departure control system (DCS).

What are the examples of GDS and CRS?


A GDS is a Global Distribution System, and the major ones are Amadeus, Sabre (including Abacus), and Travelport (incl. Apollo, Galileo, and Worldspan).

The term CRS is no longer commonly used because it has become a component of a larger system: the Passenger Service System (PSS), which typically includes the CRS, an airline inventory system, and the departure control system (DCS). 

Common examples of a CRS are Shares from Hewlett-Packard (formerly EDS), but more importantly SabreSonic (Sabre) or Altéa for traditional carriers. There is also Navitaire (owned by Amadeus) for low-cost carriers.


Difference between CRS and GDS in Hotel Industry


The channels that each system links to


At first glance, a GDS and CRS appear to have similar functions. Both systems distribute your hotel's availability and rates through various channels. 

A GDS, on the other hand, can connect your hotel to business travel planners and travel agent networks. A CRS can connect you not only to these partners, but also to customers via your booking engine, Meta search websites, and OTAs.

If you tried to manually list your room details on these channels without a CRS, you'd spend ages updating availability, entering rates, and recording new bookings. Throughout this process, there's a high possibility that errors could occur – and it would be too time-consuming to be viable. 

A CRS does this tedious task, so revenue managers and reservation staff can work effectively.


The types of benefits each system provides


Benefits of GDS:


The GDS and CRS have the same functions but the CRS only provide information about the airline. CRS operates that book & sell tickets for multiple airlines are known as a global distribution system. A CRS is computerized reservation software used to maintain the hotel information, room inventory, and guest reservation all in one place.

A CRS provides hotel room rates and availability to a variety of distribution channels, including GDS, OTAs, third-party websites, and so on. Nowadays, GDS is in high negotiations about (full) content and distribution fees with airlines. The GDS generally operate the CRS and that is why most people consider the terms GDS and CRS familiar.

Trawex’s Global Distribution System allows users to easily enter the global market. Our GDS integration solution will assist your travel company in booking thousands of flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, and vacations online. Our GDS system connects and empowers you to sell your inventory through all of your sales channels, including B2B and B2C websites.


Benefits of CRS:


If your hotel is like many others the world over, travel agents are not your only source of bookings. Modern hotels also require connections to, Expedia, and other booking platforms, as well as a reliable booking platform to accept direct reservations.

When you use a CRS, your hotel will be more visible across a wide range of distribution channels. This increases the chances of increased occupancy and profits.

The vast majority of independent hotels will benefit from a CRS that is tailored to their specific requirements. Additionally, the process of finding a CRS is not always easy, because the popular systems will not necessarily suit your establishment.

When looking for a CRS, it is vital to optimizing your needs. Would you like a system that comes with excellent technical support? Would you like more marketing tools? And what is your budget for this resource? Certain systems have tailored features for boutique hotels, whereas others are more relevant for big conference hotels.

With the right hotel booking system software, it is easy to run promotions, use dynamic pricing and delete rooms from inventory. Furthermore, a CRS streamlines your booking processes by centralizing all of your bookings.

This means that everyone – from consultants to front-desk personnel – can input and modify bookings within the same platform. Even better, a CRS can integrate with on-property systems such as your revenue management system and automatically generate reports.

Trawex's Booking Engine provides guests with a simple and pleasant booking experience. Do you want to reshape the distribution channel for your hotel? If so, a CRS could be the solution you need. Undoubtedly, with this technology, you can connect with more distribution channels, streamline your bookings department, sell more rooms and increase your bottom line.

Trawex offers a hotel central reservation system that assists hoteliers in managing their hotel data and availability for a variety of distribution channels such as GDS, OTAs, third-party websites, and so on.


Keep your Travel Business Moving Forward via These Channels




Travelers are using the internet to schedule their vacations more than ever before. As a result, every travel-related business must work to build a strong online presence.

The GDS and CRS enable online travel companies to collect data on airline, hotel room availability, ticket availability in other modes of transportation such as bus or car, etc. 

Through GDS such as Sabre, Amadeus, Galileo, and Travelport in the booking engine it is possible to access data from several suppliers.

Implementing the CRS and GDS will improve the probability of working with a wide spectrum of distributors, modifying rates according to market conditions, streamlining all the booking processes, and providing excellent customer service.

With this evolution, we are seeing tremendous growth in technology provider approaches. Trawex is shaping the future of travel technology by providing more choice and simplicity for travelers through constant innovation.

At Trawex, we pride ourselves on being able to connect you with all the major CRS and the leading GDS channels. Whatever the size of your corporation, we can assist you in finding the best solution for your global travel business.

If you need any support in developing a travel business plan, our experts at Trawex are willing to assist you. Get in touch with us today. We will aid you to stand out in the market.


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