The three major GDSs have reported their first quarter earnings for the year. What do they say about the market?
Each quarter, the three global distribution systems report on their performance and they always make for interesting reading. There are discrepancies in the way they report, making comparisons more challenging but travel buyers can still glean useful insights.
Our chart this week shows the market share of air bookings of the three GDSs for the first quarter of the year. Amadeus and Sabre publish their own market share statistics (43.5% and 36.7% respectively) but we use an average of these figures to make an estimate of the total air booking market. This gives remaining GDSs, largely Travelport, a 20% share.
We can look at how the position is changing by looking back six months. Not much has changed, other than a small shift from Amadeus to Sabre.
The results contain other interesting facts.
All three of the major GDSs report healthy growth in revenues and booked segments. Part of this is driven by Easter being counted in the quarter this year but not last.
Amadeus enjoyed the strongest jump in revenues from distribution, up 11.4% from the same period last year. Travelport’s Commerce Platform’s figures grew by 7% while Sabre’s Travel Network revenues were up 6.4%.
Others in the sector, such as airlines and TMCs, are usually keen to scrutinise the margins made by the GDSs. In terms of adjusted earnings as a proportion of net revenues, Amadeus made margins of 40.2%, Sabre 32.5% and Travelport 25.9%.
Travelport reports its agency commissions as well as revenues. For the first quarter of the year, the company made revenues of $650.8 million and paid commissions of $310.4 million. If you look back a year, these figures were $609.3 million and $282.0 million respectively. These show that while revenues have increased by 7% year-on-year, commissions are now 10% higher.
Despite this, it is still a good business to be in.