Amazon is building its own hotel booking service, it's been claimed.
While it's to be called Amazon Travel, the new service will focus on hotel stays rather than flights or travel products - at least initially.
The new service will offer the ability to find and book boutique hotels near major cities. It will be targeted at this smaller or more specialist hotels that don't have the marketing reach of bigger hotel chains.
According to travel website Skift, the initial rollout of Amazon Travel on January 1 will be US-only, offering "a curated selection of hotels within a few hours’ drive from New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle."
The travel website claims to have spoken to representatives of three independent hotels, two of which have signed for the new Amazon service and one of which was seriously considering it.
Amazon has apparently used TripAdvisor ratings as part of the process of selecting the hotels it wishes to participate in this early phase. Such hotels will benefit from the extra exposure that an Amazon-run service will inevitably bring, while Amazon for its part will claim 15 percent of each prepaid booking fee before passing on the rest to the hotels in two installments.
It's claimed that the Amazon Travel website will also contain editorial content on attractions and activities in each location. Naturally, there's huge potential here for Amazon to push its own retail products and other services.
The company has been recruiting for travel workers in several US cities in recent times, and this seems to indicate why.
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