World Panel
Viewpoint21 June 2019

Is Amazon the 'elephant in the (hotel) room'?

Digital Marketing in Hospitality

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Is Amazon the 'elephant in the (hotel) room'?
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Simone Puorto, Founder | CEO | Futurist
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Osvaldo Mauro
Entrepreneur & Business Developer

Speculating about a significant entrance of Amazon in travel it's the gossip of the year, but some real points can be analysed. Amazon is quite active in the travel space already. In 2017 they hired as head of travel business dev. of AWS, my acquaintance Mr Morin which previously was one of the top persons of Google in travel products such as Flight and Hotel Ads. He comes from Ita Software (acquired by Google in 2010) which tells a lot about the kernel technical approach that a leader like this can bring to a company.

It could be a consequence of the fact that in 2014 - 2015, Amazon lightly scraped itself in the attempt to sell hotel products via local prepaid vouchers. They probably realised that contracting (one by one) and distributing massive hotel inventory at 15% commission is pretty tough kind of e-commerce. Nowadays, Amazon has significant partnerships with major chains regarding their Alexa for Hospitality. Their voice assistant has a hotel version used by most prestigious brands.

Apart from its flights reselling white-label site in India, Amazon has more core travel-tech running under the hood. The Alexa AI massive presence and its power to suggest (inspiration sounds like experiences to me) could be a considerable advantage in the b2c travel sales funnel. Aws, the web services farm of Amazon, hosts thousands of travel companies core technology. Most of these are in the aviation sector, including partnerships with Iata, but also among OTAs like Expedia. In hospitality with players such as Choice Hotels, to cite few names that mention Amazon Web Services in their press releases.

Aws Travel is a scalable and affordable resource also for startups. Hopper to quote a very big one or our new project to say a newcomer. Despite all this guessing, a prestigious investors analysis by CB Insights named "The 7 Industries Amazon Could Disrupt Next" explores all the possible scenarios deeply, for next years and travel it's not there. 

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