Britain doesn’t want to pay for Brexit. Is Travel Retail any different?

Britain doesn’t want to pay for Brexit. Is Travel Retail any different?

By: Ivor Smith   •   Founder:

Does Travel Retail know what GDS means and what does a GDS think Travel Retail is?

The answer is simple, yet very complicated. Travel Retail to us, or at least those reading this blog, means the retailing of “Duty Free” related products in airports, on airlines or other travel mediums, like Cruises.

To a GDS, it means the selling (mainly) of bits of paper, or the digital PDF version, such as an airline ticket and all the associated Ancillary Revenues. These Airline revenues are now as long as your arm; seats, baggage, priority boarding, lounge access. You can even find and option for Oxygen and Firearms. Firearms, what’s that all about?

Oh, I forgot to explain GDS! (Global Distribution System).

Well, every time we book a flight, someone has to process this transaction by offering you the Airline, routing, prices, options and conditions. You might book through a Travel Agent, online or physical, or direct with the Airline. But, one way or another there is a GDS or a Booking Engine involved somewhere along the line. It is quite rare now for us to go to the airport ticket desk to buy a ticket like we used to do. It is now getting even rarer for us to pop down the High Street to a Travel Agent.

GDS are mostly “Commission Agents”, earning a buck or two on each transaction. Which, when grossed up for all those flyers, is a lot of money. Without going into some of the perennial wars that have evolved between GDS’s and their Airline partners, they figure in your travel life from the start of your journey and beyond. In fact, they can also figure in everything you need, such as Hotels, Car Hire, Catering, Lounges and Airport Fast-Track. A GDS thinks that “Travel Retail” means the Merchandising of all those bits of virtual paper. What it doesn’t think, is that “Travel Retail” means that selling of all those physical Luxury Goods to the Travellers of the Globe.

Amazingly, what GDSs don’t figure in or “Merchandise”, is your wish for that duty-free Chanel No 1, those Marlboros or that JW Black on the rocks, sipped at sunset from that exotic resort hotel you also bought from them!

Amadeus and their Subsidiary, Navitaire are the largest of the GDSs, servicing multiple Airlines, be they Traditional Legacy or the modern day LCCs.
Here is what Amadeus publish as their Global Ancillary product offer for their Partners….

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