For some time, Amazon has let hotels unload their unbooked inventory by offering steep discounts on rooms through its Amazon Local app. But now, Amazon is expanding its service to include ongoing booking of rooms at published rates — edging further into the realm of online travel giant Expedia.
Travel news site Skift broke the news on the expanded Amazon Local hotel features this morning, following up on its earlier scoop about the plans.
The change is already visible in the Amazon Local app, at properties in states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Oregon. According to the report, Amazon downplays any plans to compete against Bellevue-based Expedia and its family of sites — and Amazon still has just a fraction of Expedia’s presence in hotel booking — but hotel operators tell Skift that they expect Amazon to compete more aggressively than the company is letting on.
When reports of Amazon’s broader hotel plans first surfaced last fall, Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC, “It’s a big business — this is a trillion-dollar global industry. It’s a really attractive industry. It’s always been competitive. So we welcome Amazon to the party, so to speak. It’s a business that has been growing really, really well, so it’s no wonder that other companies are looking at it.”
At the same time, Khosrowshahi noted that Amazon would be playing catch-up to Expedia’s large hotel booking inventory. The company has since expanded even further with the acquisitions of Travelocity for $280 million and Orbitz for $1.6 billion, plus a $270 million minority investment in Decolar.com, the Latin American online travel company that runs the Portuguese-language Decolar.com and Spanish-language Despegar.com travel sites.
Read the full Skift report here.