Amazon to Launch New Hotel Booking Competitor

Orbitz and Expedia, beware. Amazon is prepping to add hotel rooms to the seemingly infinite list of things you can purchase in “the Everything Store.”

According to the travel industry news site Skift, Amazon has been reaching out to hoteliers in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle to be included in a new Amazon Travel program, an extension that would feature a highly-curated list of independent hotels. Hoteliers who partner with Amazon Travel will be able to upload their property’s information, pricing and availability in exchange for the standard 15% commission fee for any bookings acquired through the site.

Amazon is hoping to bring onboard independent and boutique hotels that may not have the marketing resources to compete with large hospitality chains. According to one hotelier who was approached for a partnership, Amazon Travel will only feature a select number of properties for each city, making it a highly coveted partnership for hotels eager for a prominent spot on one of the most-visited websites in the world.

Amazon did not immediately respond to Inc.‘s request for comment.

Hotel rooms on Amazon Travel will be listed at rack rate, or the rate that is offered to guests without a reservation. However, considering Amazon’s affinity for price-cutting, it’s certain that hoteliers will be strongly encouraged (if not muscled) into offering discounts and lower rates for Amazon customers.

Skift also reports that Amazon used TripAdvisor reviews and ratings to determine which hotels would be the best fit for their pilot bookings service, and that Amazon Travel will also include travel editorial and destination guides for travelers.

Amazon could be launching a travel-specific section to better target customers by collecting their purchase history and predicting future spending habits. For example, Amazon Travel could leverage the rest of the site’s big data to suggest what items to buy when you travel.

It’s a similar data-driven strategy that’s behind Google Flight Search. According to Google chairman Eric Schmidt, the long-term vision for Google Flight Search is the ability to cross-reference flight itineraries so that travelers can simply search for “flights to warm destinations in December where I can snorkel” and get a list of viable results.

Pretty soon, travelers may be able to book a hotel room and buy a luggage full of clothes to be shipped in time for when they arrive.

Amazon’s hotel booking service is expected to go live in those three cities around January 1. No information as to whether Amazon will expand this service to include air flights or car rentals.

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