Amazon.com will join the realm of online travel from next year, with the US firm set to launch a hotel booking service.
To initially feature a selection of independent hotels and resorts near major US cities New York, Los Angeles and Seattle, Amazon Travel will go live around 1 January 2015.
Two hotels who have already signed up to the venture, as well as one hotel strongly considering the option, told Skift.com that participating properties would present the usual information made available to online travel consumers, such as room types, availability and pricing as well as imagery, and would pay a standard 15 percent commission to Amazon for the prepaid bookings.
One hotelier said that having access to Amazon’s huge customer database, which comprises some 237 million active user accounts, was one of the initiative’s big attractions.
But only time will tell if Amazon Travel will make serious inroads into the huge online travel market, considering its plethora of other enterprises – such as selling books and games – and competitors like Booking.com, who do nothing else but sell hotels and travel-related products.
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Still, Amazon Travel could at least tap into something, which has been relatively ignored by OTAs – that is, the market interested in boutique and independent hotels.
According to Skift, although the online giant has dabbled in the travel sphere in the past, most notably in 2006, when OTA, SideStep, offered travel products through the Amazon travel store, this will be the first time Amazon has sold travel on its own.
There is as of yet no sign that Amazon Travel will move into flights, or other travel products.
Image: SkyMed International, Inc.
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