Amazon to tackle Expedia and duopoly

You may not have seen it coming, but Amazon is now allowing hoteliers to offer their rooms for booking from the famous online retail platform. For some time it has been possible to find hotels by searching on Amazon, the search engine referring to Amazon Local which has been discreetly updated for the occasion.


In doing so, Amazon is attacking the duopoly of Expedia and head-on. Amazon is not only positioning itself as a discount platform but allows hoteliers to offer their rooms all year round, regardless of whether they are on promotion or not. The business model is adapted since instead of taking large margins to help hotels fill their rooms as is customary it seems that a flat commission rate of 15% is applied.

Amazon is not positioned as a competitor to reservation platforms, nor as a seller, but as an additional showcase for hotels.

We can of course imagine the synergies that Amazon can draw from its various catalogs with the data held on customers: propose travel guides according to the chosen destination, conversely propose hotels on a destination about which a book has been purchased… In addition, Amazon, like Apple, holds the payment details of its customers and is considered by them as a trusted payment platform, a status that a new entrant would find difficult to acquire spontaneously.

We learn a lot of things through the new contract offered by Amazon to hotels since this fall, such as the fact that they will benefit from the full payment of the room even if the customer uses an Amazon Local discount. Or that hoteliers are engaged in accepting Amazon “vouchers”.

We’re still waiting for more details on Amazon’s hotel strategy and how quickly its room inventory will fill up.

Moreover, according to some leaks, it seems that Amazon is preparing to launch a platform dedicated to this activity and not only host it on Amazon Local. The platform in question is expected in the coming weeks, although it is not yet clear how far Amazon intends to go and what exactly they mean by “platform”.

A discreet movement but one that was nonetheless predictable. Now it remains to be seen who will be the next to attack the duopoly, which may turn out to be much more fragile than expected. Facebook ? Apple ? And let’s not forget the Chinese company Alibaba, which, with the resources provided by its recent listing on the stock exchange and its acquisition of a stake in a reservation platform, is in danger of quickly positioning itself as a major player on a global scale.

In your opinion, will hoteliers seize the hand extended by Amazon because of more advantageous conditions than what they find elsewhere? Will this activity be limited to certain types of hotels or will the major chains find it as interesting as the independents? Who will be its future competitors? And will the customer be there?

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrin
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.

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