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What Hotels Need to Know about Amazon Local Travel

 

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While Amazon has kept relatively mum about the launch of Amazon Local Travel, the hotel industry sure has been abuzz over it. No one really knows what it signifies yet for OTAs and for hotels, but the potential impact on the industry is substantial. Here’s a quick guide to what the launch of Amazon Local Travel means for hotels in the here and now, with the full expectation that this will change as Amazon builds out their offerings. Skift, which originally reported the launch, has more details about hotel contracts and the like.

1). Independent and Boutique Hotels

For the time being, big brands may have to wait. Initially, Amazon has set its focus on independent hotels and resorts. Amazon Local Travel is an extension of the local services offering, which has also been launched rather quietly. The aim? To provide interesting drivable getaway opportunities in major markets.

2). Amazon Local vs Amazon Local Travel

In case you were under the impression that Amazon Travel was only for hotels wanting to offer rock bottom rates, you should know that Amazon Local and Amazon Local Travel are part of the same localized effort, but they are apparently different. Amazon Local launched with some hotel offerings, but those were deeply discounted offerings to help hotels fill need times. Amazon Local Travel gives the hotels who are invited to participate the opportunity publish rack rates, control inventory via extranet, and so forth.

3). A New Kind of Curated Collection

Curated hotel collections are nothing new. Leading Hotels of the World, Andrew Harper, and the like have been doing it for a long time, but most curated collections have been limited to the luxury segment. In Amazon’s case, it appears they are choosing based on travel review ratings, and not simply based on luxury designation, which may set them apart.

4). The $$

It’s not clear whether the commission will stay at 15%, but for now it’s what’s in the contract. It’s reasonable and in line with—or less than—other OTAs.  While there’s a clear expectation of rate parity, Amazon also holds the key to the Prime market and that means great exposure for independents and the option for special discounts that can fill some need times.

Ultimately, there are only a handful of hotels (relative to the 50,000+ properties in the U.S.) that will meet the current Amazon Local Travel criteria: independent with great travel reviews and within a few hours of a major market such as LA or NY. However, it’s worth keeping a close watch on the evolution of the program—and yet another reason to keep careful tabs on those travel review.