On O'Neil-Dunne's GDS Critique

Regarding Timothy O'Neil-Dunne's GDS critique in The Beat ... Interesting criticism, most of it causing my head to nod in agreement. I think Timothy has laid down a gauntlet, but I'm not sure that his comments offer any new direction. [more] I, for one, am convinced that global distribution systems must redefine themselves as travel services distributors and then seek arrangements and software design that will reduce user time and thereby save everybody some money. Aggregating content is apt, but I agree with O'Neil-Dunne also that infrastructure between airlines, hotels, car rentals, trolleys and parking lots all needs to be explored.
I think of GDSs' ultimate role to be one of facilitation and design that will take into account travelers' needs and wishes. GDSs cannot be just libraries of information; they must reach all users including CVBs, consolidators--of both air and hotel products--and destination interests like banks, hospitals, chambers of commerce and yes, libraries and museums. Theirs is an opportunity to tie together such diverse interests as RV parks, meeting planners, sports venues, concert promoters, bus lines and that list can go on forever. I think of their roles as being geography managers. Until that has become their mission, they will continue to be stumbling along as relics of an era when airlines literally had no choice but to put computer keyboards in front of travel agents.

~ Rolfe R. Shellenberger