What Are Travel Meta Search Engines and How it Impacts Travel Agencies?

Travel metasearch engines have been around for some time. But, recently, it has become one of the hottest trends in the travel industry as more and more travelers are choosing it as their preferred method for finding and comparing prices.

In this blog, let’s find out how travel metasearch engines can help your hotel gain more online visibility and sell more rooms.

What is a Travel Meta Search Engine?

A travel metasearch engine is a price comparison website that compares hotel rates from different sources across the internet, OTAs (online travel agents) or directly from hotels. It must be noted that these metasearch engines are not a booking channel. They are merely a platform through which booking channels can market themselves.

The business model of travel metasearch engines is similar to most digital advertising platforms. They earn money through CPC (cost per click), CPI (cost per impression), CPA (cost per acquisition) and hybrid ads (a combination of CPC and CPA).

According to Koddi, these are the top 10 metasearch markets in the world.

  • US
  • UK
  • France
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • India
  • Brazil
  • Spain
  • Mexico

What Are the Top 5 Travel Meta Search Engines?

Here are some of the most famous travel metasearch engines.

 TrivagoKayakSkyscannerGoogle Hotel AdsTripadvisor
United States

United Kingdom

United States

United States

No of areas served


Owned by

Expedia group

Priceline group
Quotes by founders“We’re a company with so much
focus on learning that, whatever
happens in the future, we will
always be able to adapt.”
- Rolf Schrömgens
“We want to be the app you
can’t live without. I want people
to think of travel and go straight
to Kayak, not Google because
Kayak is better.”
- Steve Hafner
“Hotels and airlines spend millions, if not billions, on their brands and on the experience and contact with the customer. It’s important that metasearch doesn’t interfere with that.” - - Shane Corstorphine“From our perspective, we see
flight search as an upper-funnel
product and hotels as a
lower-funnel product, and our
revenue story is that Hotel Ads
is the key revenue driver in the
travel space.”
- Oliver Heckmann
“We have all of the major domestic hotel chains on board and we continue to sign up individual hotels and additional chains around the globe. We pretty much have the Instant Book option on almost every hotel that matters, already. Either directly or through one of their suppliers.” - - Stephen Kaufer

How Are Travel Metasearch Engines Changing the Industry?

Initially, travel engines aggregated rates by gathering them from sites across the internet so that consumers can compare it before making a final decision. Their main partners were OTAs such as Expedia and Priceline. But due to a complicated setup process and campaign management, many hoteliers avoided using the medium.

Things have changed now. Most hotels can easily get listed depending on the booking engine. For example, instant booking features where users remain on the metasearch site to book has produced a hybrid online booking environment.

One of the biggest changes is being driven by the search giant Google. When it comes to traffic growth and CPC, Google Hotel Ads is overtaking other metas. The search giant has integrated rates into Google maps. They are way ahead of the game and their meta is the most preferred choice for travelers. As more and more vendors get listed on Google Hotel Ads, Google will have more power to dictate the booking preference in the years to come. Hoteliers must maximize this channel or else it will cause a decrease in direct bookings.

Now, the online world is slowly shifting to voice-based search. The major meta-search engines are beginning to create their presence on Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. Hoteliers who are worried about this shift can rest assured that metasearch engines will come to the rescue.

Why Should Hotels Get Listed in Travel Metasearch Engines?

Marketplaces that compare prices which vendors offer help consumers make an informed decision. Every consumer wants to feel like they are doing their due diligence before choosing a price. By listing on metasearch engines, hoteliers can give users the knowledge that they are getting a great deal.

Moreover, listing hotels in metasearch engines is not only about growing revenue. It gives hotels a chance to engage with an entirely new set of customers.

PACE Dimensions’ analyzed 10,000 travel websites and found out that metasearch accounts for over 45% of global unique visitors in travel. This number is greater than the number of unique visitors for OTAs in the US.

Metasearch is a valuable space for hotels because it gives them a greater opportunity to compete with bigger travel agencies and get more direct bookings. Plus, they can spend their marketing budget in an efficient way because the bidding system gives hotels control over how they show up with other competitors. Over time, it will give them more freedom to adjust the marketing strategy and increase ROI.

Within 10 years, the hotel metasearch has progressed into a sector that generates $6 billion in advertising. Metasearch engines such as Google Hotel Ads and Tripadvisor is becoming a one-stop-shop for researching and booking hotels. So, it is the perfect time for hotels to start investing in metasearch.

Interesting Statistics About Travel Meta Search Engines

Mirai, an expert in hotel distribution gathered many important data which depicts the growing importance of travel metasearch engines. Here are some of the major findings.

1. Investment made in ads (Google & Bing) vs metasearch engines.


2. Number of times the investment in metasearch grows than ads.

Investment-in- Metasearch-Grows-than-ads.

3. How metasearch engines are dominating the traditional ads?

4. Dominance of Google Hotel Ads over others


5. How Google is the leading company in terms of investment


What Are the Pros and Cons of Travel Meta Search Engines?

Travel metasearch engines have its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s find out about them.


  • Improved online brand visibility and better ROI
  • Lists all the hotel rates in one place
  • Price transparency
  • Provides reviews in one place which helps customers to make better decisions
  • Always displays the best rates
  • Increased direct channel bookings


  • Cost of getting listed on meta appears to be excessive for some hoteliers
  • No proper customer service or support to solve disputes
  • Amount of choice can be overwhelming to customers
  • Managing the marketing department adds extra responsibility

Before you make the decision to list your hotel on metasearch engines, you must take the above points into consideration. Do you have help to manage your campaigns? Does your budget permit the allocation of third-party optimization services? And are you prepared to pay commission fees for direct booking?

If you don’t have a team of marketers, you will not be able to manage the volume of work required to rank high in the metasearch engines. In such situations, you can outsource the work to get instant advertising expertise from professionals who can offer focused attention on a daily basis. If you are looking for such kind of assistance, you can get help from our digital marketing experts at ColorWhistle.

In Conclusion, Travel Metasearch Engines is Going To Be a Real Game Changer

Travel metasearch engines will help hoteliers to reign control of their distribution pricing. This means that hotels must take serious steps to create a strong presence in meta sites.

But, hoteliers take an off-hands approach. Many are in the mindset that once they are listed, bookings will keep flowing. This is a misconception. Hoteliers must start thinking of meta sites as an online advertising platform.

Since meta sites work with real-time data, dynamic price marketing is gaining momentum. To succeed, advertising budgets must be set on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Most meta sites offer real-time bid management and ROAS (Return On Advertisement Spending) tracking. So, you can easily measure how well your marketing dollars are being spent.

Even though travel metasearch engines are changing the hotel marketing game, clients do not get a complete value proposition. For hoteliers, driving traffic is the only part role in this equation. Positive reviews and word of mouth is still essential for building trust.

In addition to spending and managing budget, listen to the needs of customers and promptly address the negative feedback in these mediums. Above all, make sure that your hotel is offering true value and amazing service to your customers.

ColorWhistle’s agility in learning travel tech helps to keep our consumers ahead of the curve. If you need any help in travel website development for your travel agency don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to help.

Which travel metasearch engines are you using to advertise your hotel? Share your experience in the comments section below.

Best SEO Tools for Experts in 2021

SEO tools help to get anything done for our clients, enable you to find new opportunities and saves time. Whether it is fetching meta tags from a domain or identifying crawl issues, tools are the savior for all savvy marketers

Selecting the best tools from this huge market will be overwhelming. That is why we have listed the most powerful tools that will help SEO experts.


Let’s dive in.

Best Keyword Research Tools for 2020

1. Adwords


Adwords is a keyword planner which allows to spot out the right keywords to target for display ads, search ads, video ads, and app ads. It also helps you to find words or phrases related to your products or services. You can even choose keywords based on bid estimates for each and every keyword based on the advertising budget.


  • Discover new keyword
  • Identify search volume
  • Identify average CPC on your targetted keywords


  • Free

2. Ubersuggest


Ubersuggest is a tool that allows you to find ‘n’ number of long-tail keywords in no time. It also aggregates data that is available from Google Suggest which provides a lot of keyword ideas similar to your searches in Google. It also provides domain info like backlinks, keyword positions, search volume, and average CPC.


  • SEO analysis
  • Backlink/competitive analysis
  • Domain overview
  • Top pages identification
  • Receive content ideas
  • Discover new keyword ideas


  • Free

3. Google Search Console/ Webmaster

Google Search Console, previously known as Webmaster allows you to check indexing status and helps you to increase the visibility of the website and webpages on the internet.


  • Identify the most popular pages
  • Check mobile responsiveness
  • Check for broken links
  • Index / submit a new URL and find URL indexing issues
  • Discover keywords which we rank or we receive impressions
  • Identify website security issues and schema markup/structured data errors


  • Free

4. Google Analytics


Google Analytics tool allows you to measure the visitors arriving on your website. It has a tremendous cloud infrastructure which allows it to dive through very large data quickly. You can make use of these data to make informed business decisions.


  • Measure audience behavior on your website
  • Discover the age, gender, interest, device, and location of your audience
  • Measure where the traffic is coming from.
  • Tracking goal conversions


  • Free

5. Google Tag Manager


Google Tag Manager is a tag management system (TMS) which allows you to update measurement codes or related code fragments (tags) on the website or mobile applications. With the help of these tags, you can easily deploy tag configurations from a web-based user-interface.


  • Add custom codes/scripts without the help of a developer
  • Set trigger controls for forms, events, and button clicks


  • Free

6. Google trends


Google trends analyze and sort out the popularity of top search queries from Google Search across various regions and languages. It also provides graphs to compare the search volume of various queries in a detailed manner.


  • Optimize content for seasonal trends
  • Find the trending topic to cover
  • Spot the demand for your product based on location, area, and region


  • Free

7. Structured data testing


Structured data testing tool (SDTT) offers multiple ways to test, develop, and modify your structured markup. You can also load the markup code directly or via an URL into the Structured data testing tool.


  • Find errors in structured data
  • View the preview of given structured data


  • Free

Top Marketing Tools for 2020

8. Screaming Frog


Screaming Frog is a website crawling tool that allows you to crawl website URL’s and collect all the key elements to analyze and audit technical/onsite SEO. It also has some advanced SEO features that come under the paid license.


  • Find broken links, errors & redirects
  • Analyze page titles & metadata
  • Discover duplicate pages
  • Review meta robots & directives


  • 1 to 4 licenses: £149 per license per year
  • 5 to 9 licenses: £139 per license per year
  • 10 to 19 licenses: £129 per license per year
  • 20+ licenses: £119 per license per year

Click here to view the pricing page of Screaming Frog.

9. Ahrefs


Ahrefs tool helps you to grow your search traffic, research your competitors, and monitor your niche on a regular basis. It also allows you to understand what you have to do in order to withstand the competition by tracking the reason for competitors success.


  • Conduct competitive analysis
  • Receive keyword suggestions
  • Research backlink
  • Explore content
  • Monitor website


  • Lite: $82/month billed yearly
  • Standard: $149/month billed yearly
  • Advanced: $332/month billed yearly
  • Agency: $832/month billed yearly

Click here to view the pricing page of Ahrefs.

10. SEMrush


SEMrush is an SEO tool that provides a complete solution to boost your online website. It helps to sort out the opportunities to get more traffic with the help of trusted data and automate most of your day-to-day tasks.


  • Analyze backlinks
  • Research keywords
  • Check on-page SEO
  • Analyze content
  • Track social media activities
  • Audit your website
  • Track keyword position


  • Pro: $83/month billed annually
  • Guru: $166/month billed annually
  • Business: $333/month billed annually
  • Enterprise: contact sales

Click here to view the pricing page of SEMrush.

11. Moz

Moz is an all-in-one toolset that allows you to audit website traffic on a regular basis. Target keywords can also be discovered based on difficulty score, competitor research, and SERP analysis.


  • Track your keyword ranking
  • Audit your website
  • Optimize pages
  • Find external links
  • Check your domain authority


  • Standard: $79/month billed annually
  • Medium: $143/month billed annually
  • Large: $199/month billed annually
  • Premium: $479/month billed annually

Click here to view the pricing page of Moz.

Best WordPress Plugins for SEO

12. Yoast SEO


Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that helps you to convert your website into a search-engine-friendly site. It allows you to generate more visitors from search engines like Google and Bing, attract more social media visitors, and increase reader engagement by offering various SEO suggestions.


  • Analyze keywords
  • Optimize your website
  • Analyze responsiveness
  • Create XML sitemaps
  • Add custom CSS footer


  • Starts at $89

Click here to view the pricing page.

13. All in One SEO Pack


All in One SEO Pack is a WordPress plugin that helps you to optimize your website and content for search engines. It includes several additional features like video sitemaps, eCommerce SEO, one-year professional support, and much more.


  • CreateXML sitemaps
  • Edit robots.txt files
  • Write meta descriptions
  • Update SEO titles
  • Integrate with social media networks


  • Individual: $57/month billed yearly
  • Business: $97/month billed yearly
  • Agency: $419/month billed yearly

Click here to view the pricing page of All in One SEO Pack.

Best Email Marketing Tools

14. MailChimp


MailChimp is one of the famous web-based email marketing service providers. It helps you to design various newsletters, share them on social media networks, integrate with services you already use and track your results instantly.


  • Track audience data
  • Build, launch, and measure campaigns across channels
  • Analyze audience engagement
  • Use hosted, embedded, or pop-up forms


  • Essentials: $9.99 per month
  • Standard: $14.99 per month
  • Premium: $299 per month

Click here to view the pricing page of MailChimp.

15. SendGrid


SendGrid is a tool that provides a cloud-based email delivery service that can help business. It is used to manage various types of emails that includes shipping notifications, friend requests, sign-up confirmations, and email newsletters.


  • Create reports based on email category, timeframe, ISP, geography, and device type
  • Personalize content
  • Access a data-rich activity feed
  • Monitor email sender reputation


  • Essentials: Starts at $14.95/month
  • Pro: Starts at $79.95/month
  • Premier: Custom pricing (reach sales)

Click here to view the pricing page of SendGrid.

16. GetResponse


GetResponse is one of the email marketing platforms which enables you to create a valuable marketing list of clients and partners. With this tool, you can build a healthy relationship and a profitable customer base.


  • Automate marketing workflows
  • Generate leads with attractive landing pages
  • Build marketing campaigns
  • Customize your forums
  • Test, analyze, and optimize the website


  • Basic: $10.50/month billed yearly
  • Plus: $34.30/month billed yearly
  • Professional: $69.30/month billed yearly
  • Enterprise: $719/month billed yearly

Click here to view the pricing page of GetResponse.

2020 Best Content Marketing Tool

17. BuzzSumo


BuzzSumo is a content research and monitoring tool. It allows you to find the most shared content on social media channels related to your domain or target keywords. Influencers related to topics can also be discovered.


  • Discover your content ranking
  • Research high traffic content and plan accordingly
  • Monitor your brand


  • Pro: $79/month billed yearly
  • Plus: $139/month billed yearly
  • Large: $239/month billed yearly
  • Enterprise: $499/month billed yearly

Click here to view the pricing page of BuzzSumo.

Leading Social Media Management Tools

18. Buffer


Buffer tool allows you to craft various posts for each social media network. It helps to plan, collaborate, and publish the most engaging content that brings high traffic to your website and increase the growth for your brand.


  • Craft perfect posts for individual social networks
  • Manage access to social account
  • Plan and schedule your content
  • Get notifications about scheduled posts


  • Pro: $12/month billed annually
  • Premium: $55/month billed annually
  • Business: $84/month billed annually

Click here to view the pricing page of Buffer.

19. Meet Edgar


Meet Edgar allows you to schedule and automate content on various social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You can create new posts or re-post evergreen contents across these social media platforms whenever you need.


  • Reshare your content
  • Unlimited library for your content
  • Automate social media posts
  • Access to smart content composer


  • $49 per month billed annually

Click here to view the pricing page of Meet Edgar.

20. Tailwind


Tailwind is a social media marketing tool that allows you to schedule and post content on social media networks like Pinterest and Instagram. It helps to maximize the reach of your content in both the platforms.


  • Optimize your post schedules
  • Create multiple posts from any website
  • Upload images in bulk
  • Manage multiple social media accounts


  • Plus: $99.99/month billed annually
  • Professional: $799.99/month billed annually
  • Enterprise: Reach sales

Click here to view the pricing page of Tailwind.

Best Marketing Automation Tools

21. Hubspot


Hubspot is an automation tool that allows you to take control of your marketing activities under a single roof. It provides solutions for increasing website traffic, converting website visitors into leads, and ‘closing the loop’ to deliver a measurable ROI.


  • Track communications
  • Integrate with any social media
  • Manage content
  • Lead scoring
  • Analyze your website
  • Marketing automation


  • Starter: $50/month
  • Professional: $800/month
  • Enterprise: $3,200/month

Click here to view the pricing page of Hubspot.

22. Marketo


Marketo is an automation tool focused on account-based marketing, like email, mobile, social, digital ads, web management, and analytics. It provides solutions to measure marketing engagements, tasks, and regular workflow.


  • Marketing automation
  • Manage your leads
  • Lead scoring
  • Streamline email marketing process
  • Nurture prospective customers
  • Create custom email campaigns


  • Bundle based pricing

Click here to view the pricing page of Marketo

23. Mautic


Mautic is an open-source marketing automation tool that provides deep audience intelligence, which will enable you to build great customer relations. It also allows marketers to deliver high performing campaigns and content which will result in superior results.


  • Marketing automation
  • Automate the process of finding and nurturing contacts
  • Track social media activities
  • Manage content
  • Lead scoring
  • Nurture quality leads easily


  • Quote based pricing

Click here to view the pricing page of Mautic

Hitting the SEO highway in 2020

If you wish to enhance the growth of your website, using SEO tools is a must. Having the best tools will help you to measure traffic, research keywords, understand the competition, audit your website, and much more. So, try to use the above-mentioned tools which are guaranteed to show positive results in your business.

If you need any help with SEO related work, feel free to reach us anytime. Our expert SEO professionals have helped many companies to improve their online exposure.

Which tool are you planning to use? Do share it in the comments section below!

Voice Search & SEO Opportunities That Digital Marketers Should Follow

Hey Siri, who offers the best SEO services in India?

Hey Google, how to live steam a video on my website?

Hey Alexa, what are the graphic design predictions for 2020?

If these questions sound familiar to you, congratulations! You are now part of the online search revolution. Voice search is one of the highly emerging trends in the search world. It is something that all SEO experts must keep their eyes on.

Even if you are not personally using voice search, it is already shaping the future of SEO.

What is Voice Search?

To put it in simple terms, voice search is nothing but the searches you perform using your voice instead of manually typing your search into the browser. It is conducted through voice search assistants such as Siri or Google Assistant.

Furthermore, search engines are becoming ‘answer engines’ because they are providing one answer to a query. Google achieved this by introducing new innovations such as Knowledge Graph and snippets.

Here are the top 4 voice assistants in the world and the devices they are compatible with.

  • Apple Siri – Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod
  • Google Assistant – Google Home, Pixel phone, Android 6.0+ devices, iOS and Android apps
  • Microsoft Cortana – Windows 10, Windows phone, Xbox One, iOS and Android apps
  • Amazon Alexa – Echo

Take a look at this video to know how The Rock uses Siri voice search.

Take a look at this official Google video which explains how the Google Assistant helps.

Here Are Some Impressive Stats That Show the Growth of Voice Search

  • Nearly 400 million devices use Google’s voice assistant (Source: Google)
  • 55% of households are expected to own smart speaker devices by 2022 (Source: OC&C Strategy Consultants)
  • 65% of 25-49 year olds speak to their voice-enabled devices at least once per day (Source: PwC)
  • 51% of voice search users use it to research products (Statistics & image source: Narvar)
  • 51% of consumers use voice search to research restaurants (Source: BrightLocal)
  • 61% of 25 to 64-year-olds say they will use their voice devices more in the future (Source: PwC)
  • 53% of smart speaker owners say it feels natural talking to these devices (Source: Google)
  • 61% of consumers use voice search when their hands or vision is occupied (Source: MindMeld)
  • The voice recognition market will hit $601 million industry by 2019 (Source: torquemag.io)
  • Nearly 20% of all voice search queries are triggered by a set of 25 keywords (Statistics & image source: seoClarity)

How Will Voice Search Change SEO?

According to ComScore, by 2020, more than 50% of all the searches will be voice searches. This means that digital marketers must start preparing for this search revolution.

But, how exactly is voice search changing the current SEO practices?

1. Increase in natural language search

Voice searches contain structured and grammatically correct phrases and sentences. For example, instead of typing ‘best-selling crime novels 2019 Amazon’, with voice search, the user will speak ‘Hey Siri, What are the best-selling crime novels on Amazon in 2019.’ So, keyword stuffing will no longer work for voice search. You have to optimize your website for natural language search.

2. More mobile searches

Even though voice recognition apps are available for desktop, many users prefer mobiles because it gives more convenience. According to LocationWorld, 240% of the adults now use mobile voice search at least once daily. So optimizing for mobile feasibility is vital.

3. More local-based searches

According to SEO Expert Brad:

  1. In the last year, 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information
  2. 46% of voice search users look for a local business daily
  3. 27% visit the website of a local business after conducting a voice search

The increase in local-based queries is due to the fact that voice search is language-dependent. So, an SEO localization strategy is required to get good results.

How to Improve Voice Search SEO?

Now that we know what voice SEO is and how many people use it on a daily basis, one thing is quite clear: Voice optimization is a definite must.

If a business fails to adapt to this fast-growing trend, its search ranking will be in trouble. So SEO experts must tailor their existing SEO strategies to optimize for voice search.

Here are some voice search tips that will make a good impact on your search engine rankings.

Make Use of Long-Tail Keywords

Voice search combines long-tail keywords with natural language. So you have to figure out how your target audience will use their search queries and integrate them into your blogs, web pages and product descriptions.

Typically, these words and phrases will work for voice search:

  • ‘Near me’ in anchor text, meta description and title tags
  • Names of local sights or landmarks used to describe your location
  • 5 Ws – Who, What, Where, When and Why

Additionally, make use of the FAQ page to develop a strategy to optimize your website for conversational searches.

Some tools that will help you to research popular long-tail keywords are Google Trends, WordStream Free Keyword Tool and Google suggestions.

Use easily digestible content

According to Google’s Voice Guidelines, the readability level of answers given to the users is important. The chances of your content being displayed in voice search results will be more, if your text is easy to read.

Here are some tips to improve readability.

Make your site responsive

One of the main reasons people prefer voice search is faster response and faster results.
Page speed is critical to ensure a flawless browsing experience for voice search users. With mobile users dominating the searches, having a responsive design website will definitely be useful.

According to Kissmetrics, 47% of customers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to check the mobile-friendliness of your website. Also, it will be wise to check out Google AMP requirements to boost site speed.

Start local

Local businesses will be the first to benefit from voice search. If your business has an office or physical location, get listed in Google My Business. This will help voice assistants to quickly find your business.

Microdata such as addresses, product names and business names is also important because users are likely to include them in the queries.

How ColorWhistle’s Professional SEO Services in India Can Help You?

ColorWhistle is a professional SEO company in India specializing in SEO strategy, content strategy, link building, local SEO, user experience, voice search and more. We also offer white label SEO reseller program options if you want us to be your silent partner. 

Savvy Digital Marketers - Start Adapting to Voice Search

Here are our predictions on how voice search will influence SEO.

  • Importance of semantic search will increase. To learn more, read this in-depth guide about semantic search
  • Function and tone of content must cater to customers
  • Mobile-friendly websites are mandatory
  • Fight for position zero (featured snippets) will continue because a majority of voice searches are answered via these boxes
  • Directories will become important for local businesses
Voice search is going to play an important part in the future of SEO. So, it is best to be prepared. With the tips mentioned in this blog, you will be able to use voice search to your advantage.

If you have any views on how voice search will impact the future of SEO, leave a comment below. We would love to know your views

What is GDS? – A Simple Guide For New Travel Agencies

Many travel agents around the world are using the Global Distribution System (GDS) as their major booking channels. It is also responsible for the significant growth of the travel industry.

If you are brand new to the travel business, you will be probably wondering what a GDS is and why GDS is much important to develop travel agents website

In this blog, we are going to explore about GDS, its importance in the travel industry and what the future looks like for this primary reservation tool.

What is GDS?

Global Distribution System (GDS) is the brain of the travel industry. It is a computerized network system which provides real-time information to companies such as airlines, hotels, car rental and travel agencies. Each of these sectors uses GDS to view real-time inventory of services offered in the travel industry.

For example, using GDS, a travel agency can find the availability of hotel rooms, flight seats or cars on behalf of their clients and book through the same GDS. 

If you like to learn more about how a GDS works, take a look at this video.

How Do Travel Companies Use GDS?

Travel companies use GDS to find the best airline ticket, car rental, hotel rooms, etc. for their clients. Information is customized and by the travel companies based on the preferences and itinerary.

When a traveler requests information from a travel company, the agent will find the most accurate and cost-effective itinerary. Travel companies are charged every time they access the GDS or they can buy a particular software offered by the GDS on a yearly basis. Also, an average person can never access the GDS without the help of a travel agency or a vendor.

Evolution of GDS

The airline industry created the first GDS in the 1960s to track flight schedules, availability and prices. In fact, the GDSs were actually among the first companies that aided B2B e-commerce in the world. They were used by the airline industry to automate the booking system, but, later travel agents were also given access.

These are some of the major GDS systems in the industry.

Name of the GDSFounded inFounded byHeadquartersNo of employeesRevenue
Amadeus1987Air France, Iberia, Lufthansa and SASMadrid, Spain16,785€4.9439 billion (2018)
Travelport (Subsidies include - Apollo, Galileo, and Worldspan)2001Founded through the acquisition of Galileo International by TDS's parent, Cendant CorporationLangley, Berkshire,UKApproximately 3,700US$ 2.5 billion (2018
Sabre1976Initially founded by American Airlines. Currently, Sabre is a separate entity owned by AMR CorporationSouthlake, Texas, United StatesAround 10,000US$3.87 billion (2018)

Apart from these famous GDS systems, there are other smaller regional GDS systems such as Travelsky, a state-owned company in China and; KIU System, a PSS and GDS used in Latin America.

What Are the Benefits of Using GDS?

GDS will be the most important channel of distribution for airlines, hotels and car rental companies. Here are some of the major benefits of using GDS.

  • Effective in attracting international travelers
  • 24/7 access to inventory
  • Enables business models such as retail travel agency and OTA (Online Travel Agency)
  • Offer consumers increased pricing transparency
  • Travel agents can get a global platform with a strong market penetration
  • Provide best rates to your customers which no other system can provide
  • Place travel services to many clients without affecting your marketing budget

Frequently Asked Questions About GDS

1. How can I start using a GDS?

To use a GDS, you have to be a professional travel agent. For that, you must have a proper industry ID such as an ARC (Airlines Reporting Corporation) or IATA (International Air Transport Association) number. Without this number, airline agencies will not know where to send your commission payments. Moreover, airline agencies will not allow unaccredited agents to issue tickets.

If you don’t want to get this certification, you can have a tie-up with an ARC or IATA host company who can book tickets on your behalf.

Some airlines will not allow you to issue tickets even if you have a full IATA license. To be on the safe side, before you sign for the GDS, make sure you talk to the particular airline to ensure if they will deal with you.

2. How much does it cost to use a GDS?

It depends on the specific service you want to use in the GDS. For example, if you want to use Amedeaus’s Flight booking software, they may sell it to you for $150-$160/year (contact the GDS provider to know the exact amount). The software will allow you to reserve tickets on any airlines.

3. Do I need a GDS?

If you are a travel agent who falls under the below category, a GDS will be useful for you.

  • A corporate travel agent who books on behalf of corporate clients or an individual working at a corporation who needs to book flight tickets for all their employees
  • Complex itinerary agents who have steady clients with multiple travel plans
  • High volume booking of air-only travel

If you are a leisure agent who doesn’t book air tickets multiple times in a day, you probably don’t need it.

What is the Future of GDS in the Travel Industry?

The traditional role of GDS is changing and being challenged by the changes taking place in the travel industry. Many online travel websites and airlines are pushing and encouraging consumers to make bookings directly via their website. Some airlines are charging additional fees for tickets purchased via the GDS when compared to the pricing in their own website.

Some industry experts predict that GDS can turn into a direct corporate booking tool rather than a booking tool for travel companies.

For example, Southwest Airlines do not work with the GDS Company Worldspan; Sabre is used by American Airlines; PARS by USAir; TravelSky by Air China; and Worldspan by Delta. If you are an agent who uses WorldSpan, you cannot book with Southwest Airlines or you need to look for pricing directly on their website. Another newsworthy information is, agreements signed between airlines and GDS is on a renewal basis. Many in the travel industry are wondering if the airlines will renew their relationship with certain GDSs.

While changes will continue to impact the future growth of GDS, there will definitely be a role for them. Hopefully, they continue to evolve as they did from the old techniques in the 1950s.

We hope that you learned something new about the travel industry. Keep checking our blog section as we plan to further dismantle the ever-changing world of travel.

Do you have any questions? Feel free to reach our travel solution experts at ColorWhistle anytime. We are always happy to help.

GDS, CRS, OTA, Travel Metasearch Engines – What’s the Difference?

In the travel industry, lots of jargons such as CRS, GDS, Metasearch Engines, OTAs and Sharing Economy Platforms have surfaced.

If you are planning to enter the travel industry or travel agency it is important to understand the difference between these terms. It will help you to gain more online visibility and sell your services effectively to travelers.

To clarify your confusion, we will explain the difference between all these terms in simple words

Let’s dive in.

1. GDS (Global Distribution System)

A global distribution system is a huge database that stores and updates enormous information about inventory and hotel rates to travel agents and travel websites. This system is responsible for the extensive growth of the travel industry and was the stepping stone of most internet based travel services.

Through this system, travel agents/agencies can access real-time availability, price and offers of flight tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, cruises, ferry reservations, trains and other services. When compared to public rates, hotels sell their rooms 30% cheaper on GDS.

Global Distribution System (GDS) is a costly channel that mainly lets the sale of rooms in large numbers to big companies and travel agencies. So, small agencies don’t need GDS.

Top GDS in the world

  • Amadeus
  • Travelport (Galileo, Apollo, Worldspan)
  • Sabre

2. Computer Reservation System (CRS)

A Computer Reservation System (CRS) or central reservation system is an automated reservation that is used to store information, retrieve information and conduct transactions related to air travel. The system was originally designed 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 information about tourism products or services to the public.

GDS and Computer Reservation System (CRS) have the same functions but, CRS only provides information about airlines. With GDS, you can reserve a ticket, book a room or rent a car. This is why they are known as Global Distribution System because you can reserve everything with GDS.

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

Examples of CRS

  • Hewlett Packard’s EDS
  • SabreSonic or Altéa (Sabre)
  • Navitaire (owned by Amadeus)

3. Online Travel Agents (OTAs)

Online Travel Agents (OTAs) is a place where travelers can get access to a whole range of travel services such as accommodation, flights, travel packages, car rentals, tours and activities. Unlike travel metasearch engines, users can directly book through OTAs.

Travelers usually find these websites useful as they can easily compare rates, reviews, and availability of accommodation options at one glance. Any hotel can easily be listed on an OTA without any charge. They just have to add hotel photos, proper descriptions, rooms, rates, etc. Although appearing on an Online Travel Agencts (OTA) is free of charge, hotel owners have to pay a commission of 15%-20% when a booking is confirmed via an OTA.

Most of the OTAs make a huge investment in online marketing. So, we recommend hotels to have a presence in OTAs as they amplify the chance of reaching potential travelers locally and from around the world.

Top 5 OTAs

  • Expedia
  • Priceline
  • Orbitz
  • Travelocity
  • Yahoo! Travel

4. Travel Metasearch Engines

A metasearch engine is a tool that aggregates date from other search engines and produces results to the user. In the travel industry, the metasearch engines aggregate rates and availability of hotels from different sources mainly from OTAs and sometimes directly from hotels. This makes things quite easy for users. All they have to do is find the type of hotel they want, enter their journey dates and compare the different options.

Metasearch engines do not do the actual booking; they just list the price and availability. When you select a particular hotel, you will be redirected to the OTA in which the fare was displayed to make the actual booking.

As far as the business model goes, travel metasearch engines earn revenue through completed transaction referred through the search engine. It also earns money by placing ads for travel agencies through CPC (cost per click) or CPI (cost per impression) model.

Famous Metasearch engines

  • Trivago
  • Kayak
  • Skyscanner
  • TripAdvisor
  • Google (with Google Hotel Finder)

5. Sharing Economy Platforms

Sharing economy platforms is a type of OTA which carters for apartments/holiday home rentals, small single property operators and large groups. It is a perfect solution for those who want to save money when traveling.

Many travelers prefer to stay on a shared basis as they are cheaper than commercial space like hotels, more personalized and give travelers an opportunity to live in local neighborhoods. This accommodation sector is a new way which solves the short and longer stay needs.

Examples of sharing economy platforms

  • Airbnb
  • Stayz
  • HomeAway
  • Flipkey
  • Travelling Frogs
  • Aura
  • Tripping

Keep your Travel Business Moving Forward via These Channels

More than ever, travelers are using the internet to plan their getaway. Therefore, every business linked with travel must work towards establishing a strong online presence.

Travelers type in many search terms and go through several websites to book their accommodation. So, if your name pops-up frequently, there is a 90% chance of receiving more bookings.

The world of traveling is changing quickly. Knowing what is going on in the industry will put you in a position to make better decisions.

Make use of the channels mentioned in this blog to grow your direct sales.

Which channel are you using to grow your travel business? Do share them in the comments section below.

Agency vs Freelancer – The Ultimate Decision Guide

Agency vs. freelancer conundrum is not new. With easy accessibility of a large pool of talent, it is hard to decide who to choose for your company’s website design and development related projects.

When it comes down to working with an agency or freelancer, all of them have their merits and the decision will ultimately come down to your objectives and how you want to accomplish it. Nevertheless, the debate is complex and it can be a difficult decision to make.

To point you in the right direction, we’ll help you decide who you should hire for your forthcoming projects.


There are many freelancers out there you can hire to fill the gaps you may have in your current skills, staff or workload. Many people are advertising their skills on crowdsourcing websites like 99 Designs and Upwork. You can either post a project for freelancers to bid or directly search for the most suitable person for the job.

While freelancers are not suitable for every job or position, hiring them for the right ones comes with some advantages. For instance, if you have a one-time project that is taking up all your employees’ time, you can hire a freelancer to complete it so that your employees can carry on their day to day tasks. Or, if you have a project that requires specific expertise, you can hire a freelancer.


A typical agency includes copywriters who write customer-centric content, designers who will analyze what your target audience need and create effective designs, coders & programmers who convert designs into functional websites and SEO & SMO specialists who drive traffic to your website.

You can hire agencies for small projects like logo design, creating one-page websites and for full blown projects too. On the whole, an agency will help to grow your business completely and a website is just one part of that growth.

Factors Affecting the Choice of Hiring

We have evaluated some of the major factors you need to evaluate before you make a choice between a freelancer and agency.

1. Cost

Cost is the most important decision factor. Keep in mind that the cheapest solution is not always the best.


When you hire an agency, you will be either paying for every individual project or monthly. They work on a contract basis and cost more than a freelancer. But, they cost less than an in-house employee because you needn’t bear the overhead costs, taxes or any other cost associated with full-time teams.


Freelancers are certainly the option to go if you are looking for a more affordable option because they don’t share their salary with a team. It will save you money in the long run because you needn’t pay for new office spaces, onboarding sessions or even new tools.

2. Management

After figuring out how much money you decide to spend, you have to think about the control and management of the project.


It is the agencies job to manage, plan, make objectives, set goals and take care of the team. They will also provide you rapid solutions or alternatives if you project face any hindrance. You need not be involved in day-to-day activities or do any hand-holding. Additionally, they also deal with the maintenance of the projects. Basically, you will not be burdened with the hassle of managing the whole project.


Independence in the norm of freelancers. So, you needn’t spend your time overlooking their every move. However, freelancers are not managers. If they get sick or have to deal with any unexpected circumstances, you will have no control over the progress of the project. For example, if you want to hire an individual developer, you have to be ready to control everything by yourself including deadlines.

3. Expertise

Do you want to invest in some time in hiring good experts or want a handy short term solution? Expertise is one of the most crucial factors you must consider when making a decision.


When you hire an agency, you’ll get all types of solutions you need at any time. Even though the price is a little high, you will get exactly what you need. Plus, agencies attract highly skilled talent, so you will get a diverse set of capable and experienced professionals working in your project.

Additionally, agencies bounce around different clients, projects and industries. Therefore, they will have more insights into different industries, business models and projects.


Freelancers sell the skills they are good at. They often concentrate on a particular field and specialize in it. So, you can find someone to fit the exact project type you need. If you need to perform only one specific task, a freelancer is a great choice.

4. Quality of Results

Collaborating with people who deliver high-quality work is the most important factor to consider. This is also a major consideration.


Even though hiring a professional agency is expensive, you will get excellent value for money in terms of quality of results. Agencies always strive for a successful launch of a project even if it comes at a price.


Most of the freelancers have additional jobs. Your work is not the only thing that is bringing them cash. In fact, even agencies are guilty of this, but they can properly stick with the scope.
If you are working with a freelancer who is not passionate about quality output, the project will go over the scope and need multiple revisions. As a result, they will stop in the middle of the project or give you a generic output.

5. Legal Security

Finding talent for your project is enough work. There should not be any legal problems to slow down your project. Make sure to know how both of them differ before you make a choice.


Agencies are legal entities. They offer stable cooperation and desire to work legally. They’ll usually ask you to sign a contract which is a sign that they care about your rights.


Freelancers are generally the easiest when it comes to legal issues. You don’t have to pay additional taxes or go through lengthy contracts. With that said, a freelancer can easily disappear and you may have little legal resources to back you up. That is why you have to make a thorough background check before hiring a freelancer.

6. Communication

Do you want to have contact with a person who you can talk to anytime or do you want to communicate at the beginning and end of the project? Point of communication must also be considered when making your choice.


Agencies will have dedicated on-staff support. You will be assigned a project manager who will help the team to say on schedule and budget. They will be your point of contact if you have any questions about the progress of the project. Agencies also use project management software that freelancers may not have access to.


Freelancers are easy to communicate and may not set a time to reply to your emails. But then again, they can disappear. This is why it is important to hire freelancers from reliable sources.

7. Consultation

Do you want a proper explanation of why a strategy was formed or just need the work to be done? This is also another important factor you must consider when hiring.


Typically agencies have more resources. A team of creatives from an agency are teachers and will have more knowledge to offer. You will also get the ‘why’ and ‘how’ they came up with the plan and not just the work.


Freelancers are good at fulfilling a specific niche but, may not be good when you are looking for a creative push that will set you apart from the competition. You will not get many creative differences in your project with a single person’s vision.

Comparison of All the Pros and Cons of Hiring an Agency vs Freelancer

Here is a quick overview of the factors we’ve discussed.

Quality of results********
Legal security******

Agency vs Freelancer - Which One is More Suitable?

Both freelancers and agencies have their own pros and cons. You need to choose an option that is in sync with your projects, requirements, goals and final results.

Freelancers are a better option if you are on a budget and looking for a specific work to be done.

Building a top-class website requires a team of experts who are experienced in many areas. One person cannot do it all or excel in all areas. For example, will you hire just one person to build an entire house from obtaining permits, architectural design, foundation, plumbing, electrical, painting and decorating? Obviously, no. A top-class website will actually help you achieve your business goals. So it is certainly not a one-man job. It takes a group of professionals who are experienced in their area of specialty.

With agencies, you have access to more experts, knowledge, and skills. And if you find the right team, you can take on more projects in the future and build a long-term work relationship. Plus, you will have more confidence in accepting bigger projects because you already have a team with a special set of skills.

Our recommendations? Save yourself the headache and hire an agency. They will take care of everything for you. The slight additional investment today will save you thousands in the future.

If you need to talk to a full service digital agency for any help, don’t hesitate to contact our team at ColorWhistle.

Who will you hire for your next project? A freelancer or an agency? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.