Just when you thought there was no pot that Amazon didn’t have its hand in, the e-retailer giant revealed that it would soon be providing a travel booking service with Amazon Travel.
Amazon used TripAdvisor ratings to select some of the first hotels available for booking via Amazon Travel, Skift reports. Amazon Travel will only feature a few hotels per destination and will also provide editorial about sightseeing and activity recommendations for each locale.
Amazon will receive a 15% fee from participating hotels, according to two hoteliers who have already signed on to be a part of the service. Though the company did not comment directly, the hotels who have signed on say it’s a huge growth opportunity for independent and boutique hotels to be exposed to Amazon’s enormous customer base.
This isn’t Amazon’s first stab at travel: In 2001 it partnered with travel brands via Expedia, and in 2006 it did the same through SideStep, a company which was later acquired by Kayak.
Industry experts say Amazon has a real opportunity to shake up the tech travel scene, by nature of its extraordinary reach. “A key will be if Amazon can create a great user experience and drive traffic,” hotel consultant Robert Cole of RockCheetah told Skift. “They may be able to lure major hotel brands with lower distribution costs, better payment terms and by exerting margin pressure on OTAs. Travel is a big global market without shipping/logistics costs. Thinking special Amazon Prime deals are a no-brainer when running at scale.”