Even though online bookings continue to grow and will do so for the foreseeable future, hoteliers need to maintain a focus on the GDS channel, which will remain a critical source of revenue and bookings both in 2017 and for the next several years. Phocuswright estimates that 60 percent of rooms will be booked offline via central reservations systems, property direct channels and travel agents or travel management companies. The majority of bookings via travel agents and travel management companies are GDS bookings. While it's inevitable that this distribution mix will shift over time, an effective hotel distribution strategy must consider all distribution channels, including GDS, to find the strategy that's best for a particular hotel and market. For one thing, travelers have more options than ever when they’re shopping for accommodations. Despite some high-profile mergers in recent years, a host of new brands and the growth of the sharing economy mean that the hospitality market will remain fragmented for a long time to come. At the same time, continuing economic and political changes in North America and Europe mean that the bouts of uncertainty that started with the global financial crisis are likely to continue, making it more difficult to project the outcomes of even a carefully-considered strategy. But despite years of predictions that agent-booked travel would decrease, GDS bookings remain strong: In our sample of data from Sabre hotels, the number of room nights booked via GDS grew by 1.08 million from 2015 to 2016, an increase of 10.4 percent. These numbers underscore industry analysts’ expectations for growth in this channel. Get the full story at Sabre