Amazon today announced it’s expanding its travel site Amazon Destinations to reach several new markets across the U.S, representing a doubling of its footprint since its launch in April this year. There are now more than double the number of destinations available for booking on the service, which includes hundreds of hotels across 35 cities and 6 larger metro regions, the company notes.
Today, Amazon Destinations is adding the Southeast (Atlanta), Texas Gulf Coast (Houston), and Northern California (San Francisco) metro regions, while it also expanded the Northeast Metro region with more destinations within driving distance of Boston. Previously, the company offered access to L.A., New York and Seattle regions, as well.
Over the past four months, the service has grown from 17 cities to 35, including a number of popular tourist destinations like Cape Cod, Savannah, Myrtle Beach, Napa, Lake Tahoe, Texas Gulf Coast and New Orleans.
Unlike with larger travel search engines which help consumers book travel alongside hotel stays, the idea with Amazon Destinations is to allow consumers to find weekend getaways near where they currently live. That is, it’s offering access to hotels in popular spots that are within driving distance of major cities as a matter of convenience for Amazon’s customers.
As the company noted before, this seemed like an untapped vertical to explore in the travel space as 40 percent of all U.S. domestic leisure trips were short-term getaways of one to three nights, and many were to nearby, driveable destinations.
The site grew out of Amazon’s earlier efforts in the travel space, which before included Amazon Local flash deals on hotel stays that ranged from 40 percent to 60 percent off standard prices. But with Amazon Destinations, the company is posting hotels’ published rates instead.
In other words, the site is not necessarily aimed at deal-seekers, but rather represents another way that Amazon is expanding its online offerings to stretch further into consumers’ daily lives through an e-commerce site that’s not about purchasing physical goods. Amazon also recently branched out to reach customers in need of service pros with Amazon Home Services, as another example of this trend.
On Amazon Destinations, hotels don’t pay upfront to participate, but Amazon keeps a percentage of the price the customer pays as its commission. (This percentage is not disclosed).
The company doesn’t say when it expects to have a nationwide footprint, but says it’s getting close with metros that now cover the Northwest, all of California, Texas, Southeast and Northeast.