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Amazon Tackles the Hotel Market

Trade sources report that Amazon is expanding its hotel booking business in a big way. Although it has offered extreme markdowns on limited numbers of hotels for some time, the new move will apparently be into the mainstream of competitive-price bookings.

Amazon is apparently starting small, around the first of the year, with an initial focus on hotels within the extended New York City, Los Angeles, and Seattle areas. As with other booking agencies, Amazon’s postings will include editorial content about destinations and activities.

For now, the extended program will post roughly the same prices you would see on, Expedia, or any other major hotel-search online travel agency (OTA). (Amazon and the other big OTAs apparently take 15 percent to 20 percent off the top when they book hotels. That’s a big bite.) The only differentiating point, at least so far, is that hotels will accept Amazon local discount credits for all or some of the purchase price.

Given Amazon’s tremendous clout in the marketplace, its program certainly competes with the established OTAs. Beyond acceptance of discount vouchers, however, it remains to be seen if and how Amazon will become a go-to hotel buying site or just one of the gang. We’ll keep you posted.

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