Is Amazon the 'elephant in the (hotel) room'?
The Amazon / ClearTrip partnership is far from a revolution, but it's another tiny step Bezos' company took into the travel space. I think the time has come to address the elephant in the room: acquisitions. Rather than building from the ground up and launching its own products (remember the 2014' AMZ Travel fiasco?), in fact, the company now seems to prefer a different approach, partnership with existing providers. So why not acquiring them tout court? It's intriguing to speculate on who can be on Bezos' radar: trivago? Cheap but, honestly, what would be the added value? TripAdvisor? Mew. My two cents are on Expedia. Most of the OTA's infrastructures are already in AWS anyway, and -even though expensive- that's an investment Amazon can undoubtedly support. According to analyst Brian Nowak, our industry has -so far- "proven to be immune" from the e-commerce giant but, he continues, the annual profit figure of Amazon Travel could be estimated in over half a billion dollars. Juicy.
How and when will Amazon enter the travel industry? Glad you asked. It will not be for the love of travel as much as the complementary and strategic value to further expand the core Amazon business model. HospitalityNet published my analysis of this topic HospitalityNet published my analysis of this topic and to summarize:
It's a Chess Match
Like a chess match, Amazon has made several moves in the travel vertical. When Amazon makes the acquisition of Airbnb, it will not be entering it for the love of travel but for around the edges of the travel industry is a treasure trove of opportunity for this retail giant. Reframe your thinking and you will see that travel acquisition is simply a by-product of Amazon's true strategy at hand.
Queen's Pawn to D5: Amazon and Airbnb are complementary and additive businesses
For Airbnb hosts, the platform is a revenue tracking system and for Amazon the platform is an expense tracking system. Combined you have a P&L to run the financials of the business.
King's Pawn to E6: Key placements of key people
In the past year, two key people from Amazon's executive team have migrated to Airbnb. Airbnb Plus roll out curates homes to hotel quality status. The team that brought us Amazon Prime will now drive Airbnb Plus. That is a lot of dish soap.
Bishop to D6: With Airbnb, Amazon now has the hotel relationships
Airbnb is in the process of slowly opening up the platform for hotel brands to access. Amazon will now own the hotel relationships and even bid access to the $5 billion hotel procurement segment.
Queen to H4: Amazon owns the data
Amazon becomes the owner of all the data. By bridging inventory and supply chain controls with an elaborate distribution system and sophisticated data processing platform, Amazon sits in the center of a data hub to manage, predict, and price yield.
Bishop to G3: Amazon has the search volume and the ad platform
While customers may not think of Amazon as a travel site, this concern can easily be overcome with the right execution of the Airbnb acquisition. Amazon can swiftly become a significant travel search and ad platform within the Amazon eco-system.
Check Mate: Convenience is the new currency - game over Amazon wins
Convenience is the new currency and both Airbnb and Amazon exemplify this. Travel is emotional and Airbnb allows us to craft a dream that is unique and with global appeal all with one click to book and via voice.