How to Audit Your GDS Info

HSMAI’s Marketing Advisory Board Tactical Workgroup has produced a series of resources directed at helping hospitality marketing professionals drive revenue recovery. This one focuses on best practices for auditing the information you share on global distribution systems (GDS).


Global distribution systems (GDS) enable transactions between hotels and travel agencies, giving them 24-hour access to live inventory and rates. They provide hotels global reach for relatively low costs.

To optimize your GDS-produced revenue — as well as the potential for revenue — audit your hotel’s information in every GDS where it appears. Ensure that content is up-to-date and consistent across the GDS.


The following best practices by content type are a helpful guide:

1. Photography Requirements and Details

  • Up to 25 pictures can be displayed in the GDS/ODD channel in the highest possible resolution.
  • Maximum of seven photos for each room type (the photos should show distinct differences in the room types).
  • Resolution of photos should be 300 dpi.
  • To resize images, consider using a free image editor such as PicResize or Pixlr.

2. Property Description

  • The hotel description serves as the opening statement to a travel agent utilizing the GDS to sell your hotel and to potential guests.
  • Include the key selling features.
  • Agent reading time is short, so descriptions should be interesting, detailed, and inviting, yet objective and concise.
  • Description sections are typically limited to 500 characters.

 3. Property Information

  • Allowable special characters are limited to the following: period, forward slash, and hyphen; others will be removed.
  • Include basic property details, such as:
  • Name
  • Address
  • Website
  • Phone
  • Time zone
  • Number of rooms
  • Check-in/checkout time
  • Currency
  • Agency commission percentage
  • Latitude and longitude (see Google Maps for assistance determining this)

 4. Lanyon Property Type and Rating (if applicable)

  • Where options are provided, choose the best one.
  • Include AAA Diamond rating, Mobil Star rating, OHG rating, RAC Star rating, etc.

 5. Location of the Property

  • List airports in order of proximity to the property.
  • Include airport name, three-letter code, and distance from property.
  • Don’t forget to include applicable regional airports for business travel.

 6. Directions

  • Provide basic directions to your hotel from multiple different geographic map points.
  • Directions should be simple, clear to understand, and stick to major thoroughfares rather than local shortcuts.

 7. Property Amenities

  • This is typically a checkbox within your distribution system.

 8. Hotel Policies

  • Deposit policy: If you have multiple deposit policy periods, they need to be listed separately. An example of a deposit policy is “All reservations require credit card deposit of 100% of stay due at time of booking.”
  • Guarantee policy: If you have multiple guarantee policy periods, they need to be listed separately. An example of a guarantee policy is “All reservations require credit card guarantee due at time of booking.”
  • Cancellation policy: If you have multiple cancellation policy periods, they need to be listed separately. An example of a cancellation policy is “Reservations must be canceled 24 hours prior to arrival to avoid a penalty of one-night room and tax.”
  • Terms and conditions: Include any additional information. For example, is your property completely nonsmoking? Depending on the GDS, there may be checkboxes in this section to attend to as well.
  • Pet policy and deposit (if applicable): For example, “Pets allowed,” “Pets allowed free of charge,” etc.
  • Additional services and fees: Check all that apply (for example, “Early checkout,” “Late checkout,” “Extra adult,” “Rollaway,” “Valet parking,” etc.).
  • Include all accepted payments, taxes, surcharges, and fees.

 9. Room Type Details

  • Each GDS returns 15 to 20 room/rate combinations on a general search.
  • Create simple, clear room types that promote the value of the offering.

 10. Inventory Best Practices

  • Create and load meaningful descriptions of your rooms. Properly defined room descriptions convey the value of your rooms. Higher room types need to say clearly why a client should pay extra for this room.
  • Use the sequencing functionality to sequence your room types from lowest class to highest class.
  • Load inventory as far out as you are allowed, or at least 18 to 24 months out.
  • To comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, properties can:
  • Include the word “accessible” in the room type name as applicable.
  • Describe a room’s features in enough detail to reasonably permit individuals with disabilities to determine if the room meets their accessibility needs.
  • This applies to all room description fields.

 11. Room Type Name

  • The GDS limits the total number of characters to 43.
  • Room names that are more than 43 characters will be truncated on the GDS.

 12. GDS Seamless Room Description

  • Include room type details and key selling points.
  • The maximum number of characters allowed — including spaces — is 47 per line for up to two lines.
  • All details will appear in all-caps and without punctuation.
  • Bad example:



  • Good example:



 13. Room Amenities

  • Include room amenities using the GDS checkboxes.

 14. Property Level Rates

  • Best available rate (BAR): Daily rate and typically default. There should be no rate that is lower unless it is qualified or fenced.
  • Negotiated rates: These are defined as confidential rates contracted with a specific company restricting the access to certain travel agencies. There are GDS loading instructions for each of your negotiated rates. Check expirations.
  • Consortia rates: Consortia rates are typically entered in a different place.
  • Packages (if applicable): Due to the limited number of characters allowed in the description field, packages should be simpler and more easily defined as a value (for example, “Room and breakfast”).
  • Load all room types against your BAR rates (including suites). Set no more than 5 to 6 public rates.
  • Sequence your rate plans. The recommended order is 1) BAR, 2) discount/promotional, 3) package. The recommended rate sequencing is lowest rate to highest rate.

 15. Rate Plans

  • Each standard and negotiated rate plan is entered separately. Where options are provided, choose the best one.
  • Rate plan name (as you would like to display to your customer): The GDS limits the total number of characters to 43.
  • ID-required plans: These might include government, senior citizen, travel agent, and AAA. Add a comment to the GDS “Rate Plan Description” field, such as “Must present special ID upon check-in in order to receive the rate.”

 16. Rate Plan Policies

  • Only needed if there are different or additional policies from standard.

 17. GDS Negotiated Rate Loading (if applicable)

  • This may be different depending on the distribution and GDS platform, but typically applies to Sabre, Galileo, Worldspan, and Amadeus.

 18. GDS Rate Plan Description

  • Maximum of 47 characters including spaces per line — including spaces — for up to two lines.
  • All details will appear in all-caps and without punctuation.
  • Include rate plan details, key selling points, or restrictions.
  • Examples:

19. Dining Options

  • List restaurants located on or near your property in order of importance.
  • Where options are provided, choose the best option.
  • Include room service and hours of operation.
  • All text will appear in English only.

 20. Meeting Rooms

  • This information pertains to onsite space only.
  • Include number of meeting rooms, total meeting space, largest and smallest room space, and largest and smallest capacities.

 21. Recreation

  • Select and provide details of all recreational facilities available to the guest (for example, golf courses, health club facility and equipment, swimming pools, etc.).

 22. Safety Features

  • Check all the safety features applicable to the property.
  • Some GDS may ask for COVID-19 safety procedures.

 23. FEMA ID (if applicable)

  • This can be helpful when booking government business.

 24. Property Services

  • Check all services applicable to the property.

 25. Reference Points

  • Reference points are used as search qualifiers in the GDS to locate properties near a location.
  • Where options are provided, choose the best option.
  • A minimum of 10 reference points is recommended.

 26. Marketing Messages

  • Available in Sabre, Apollo/Galileo, Worldspan and Amadeus.
  • Carries by distribution system.

Special thanks to TravelClick for providing many of these best practices.

Categories: Marketing
Insight Type: Articles, Tools