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GDS Effective to Reach Travel Agents at Point of SaleDecember 20, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
Global Distribution System (GDS) platforms and GDS Shopping Displays are crucial to travel agents with 84 percent of agents reporting they were using their GDS platform the same amount or more often than in the past. As many as 35 percent of agents said they are using GDS more, a new TravelClick study reports.
The results are from the 2011 Global Travel Agent GDS Study, a bi-annual survey of global travel agents commissioned by TravelClick. 75 percent of respondents indicated that they were using GDS Shopping Displays the same amount or more often than in the past, with 27 percent stating that they are using GDS Shopping Displays more.
TravelClick reports this represents a significant change since the study was last conducted in 2009, where 26 percent of travel agents stated that they used their GDS platform more often than in the past and 19 percent said they used the GDS Shopping Displays more often than before.
The study also reaffirms TravelClick's projection that annual GDS hotel bookings will surpass $50 million in 2011, an increase of more than 1 million incremental bookings from 2010, TravelClick reports.
"Travel agents are increasing GDS hotel use, and have once again confirmed their confidence in GDS Shopping and Booking Displays," remarked John Hach, senior vice president, global product management at TravelClick. "As the GDS channel produces one of the highest average daily rates of any booking channel, there is a huge opportunity for hoteliers to influence travel agents through the GDS at the point-of-sale."
The survey was conducted by Phoenix Marketing International, an independent marketing research firm. Travel agents in 25 countries across the Americas, EMEA (Europe/Middle East/Africa) and Asia/Pacific regions who subscribe to one of the four major GDS systems were asked to participate.
Agents surveyed utilize all four major Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) – Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre and Worldspan. The survey window opened on October 15, 2011 and closed on November 4, 2011. The study elicited 495 responses globally.
In the TravelClick survey, travel agents worldwide also indicated that promotional messages are effective and often prompt bookings:
• 66 percent of all travel agents surveyed who were aware of promotional messages requested additional information by looking at the screen attached to the promotional message.
◦ 68 percent of these same travel agents looked inside the GDS systems for additional information.
Among all travel agents aware of their system's promotional messaging:
◦ 46 percent made a North American booking in the past three months as a result of that messaging.
◦ 44 percent made a non-North American booking in the past three months as a result of that messaging.
"This survey definitively shows that promotional messages are not only an excellent way to reach travel agents, but also a valuable sales catalyst," continued Hach. "The data demonstrates that if the messages are reaching the agent, they are also reaching the customer; it's a chain reaction which translates into concrete sales around the world. As hotels plan their marketing and sales activities for 2012, investing in the GDS channel will undoubtedly prove to be a crucial component."