The website Skift is reporting that Amazon Travel could go live as soon as January 2015 with a focus on booking hotel rooms at independent hotels and resorts near major cities, with the first three cities being New York, Los Angeles and Seattle.
According to the article:
Properties would load their room types, availability, pricing information, and photos into an Amazon extranet and would pay a standard 15% commission to Amazon for the prepaid bookings, the hoteliers at the independent properties said.
Amazon would round out the content on Amazon Travel with editorial about attractions and other things to do in the destination. At least initially, Amazon would focus on hotels, and not flights or other travel products.
One of the huge questions that remain is can Amazon be successful at marketing independent hotels when it sells everything from books, to electronics, to groceries. Skift said Amazon obviously attracts a ton of customers and has mega-marketing power online so that’s a huge built in advantage to launching hotel bookings.
Amazon has a ton of data on just about everything, and it will be interesting to see if they can use it to carve a meaningful niche in the hotel industry for hotels that aren’t Starwood, Hyatt or Hilton. Another possibility is that Amazon could push further into the lodging market by offering an on-line vacation rental marketplace similar to VRBO or Airbnb. I have a feeling that 2015 could be big for Amazon Travel.