If you’ve heard the rumors about Amazon’s new travel site, you’re not alone. Buzz is big surrounding the e-commerce company’s aggressive appeals to hotels across the nation. But Amazon’s plan isn’t to compete with TripAdvisor or Expedia. Instead, the changes are a part of a massive build-out of the burgeoning Amazon Local.
Whispers about Amazon Travel arose when the group began to more forcefully approach hotels for exclusive offers and partnerships. While this is true, the end-goal is not an Amazon-powered hotel booking site.
“We’re not launching a travel site,” said representative Tom Cook. ”All the work that’s being done [is with] Amazon Local. We’re continuing to curate…great hotel deals and pricing.”
You’re not alone if you’re unfamiliar with Amazon Local. The marketplace has been quietly building its arsenal of services and Groupon-like deals for those interested in tapping into their neighborhood markets. Just the other day, Amazon Local launched a food delivery operation with the potential to rival Seamless and GrubHub: hundreds of restaurants are already onboard.
The travel component of Amazon Local is simply a microcosm of the project at large.
“The focus for the travel section…is to [provide] more getaway hotel locations [around] the major metros.” Cook explained further.
Great hotel deals—some just a three-hour drive from cities including Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles—are being offered for those seeking an easy, quick getaway.
By offering daily deals and discounted rates, Amazon Local is encouraging people to explore top finds in and around their home cities. New Yorkers, for example, can take advantage of The Pitcher Inn, a Relais & Chateaux property near Sugarbush we love, with enormous savings through Amazon Local.
If you’re planning a major international vacation, Amazon Local won’t be much help. But if you’re inspired to hop in the car and get out of town for a night or two, it's worth browsing the listings to find a hot deal just a stone's throw from your neighborhood.
Melanie Lieberman is the Editorial Projects Assistant and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow her on twitter at @LittleWordBites.