In April, Amazon confirmed the rumors that it was getting to travel by launching Amazon Destinations. Now, Amazon is expanding that service into three new metropolitan areas.
Amazon announced today (July 30) that it was expanding the local travel service into the metropolitan areas in and around Atlanta, Houston and San Francisco; it was also expanded across the northeast metropolitan area to include cities that are drivable to Boston. This expansion now brings Amazon Destinations into six metro regions and 35 getaway destinations.
Amazon Destinations is a hive off of Amazon Local, and allows hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts to advertise there and for users to sort by location. Think of it as a cross between Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Airbnb and Hotel Tonight with a twist.
The twist, as hyped by Amazon, is that the site automatically posts popular destinations based on where the user lives. With a tagline “Hit the road: Book local getaways,” Amazon is setting itself apart by offering a way to find unique weekend getaways that are close to home.
Among the cities in the new metro areas are:
- Southeast: Atlanta metro — destinations include Myrtle Beach, Asheville, and the Savannah Historic District.
- Texas Gulf Coast: Houston metro — destinations include Hill Country, Austin, New Orleans, San Antonio Riverwalk, and the Texas Gulf Coast.
- Northern California: San Francisco metro — destinations include Lake Tahoe, Monterey and Carmel, and Napa.
- Northeast expansion: destinations include Cape Cod, Portland and Maine beaches, The Berkshires, White Mountain, and the Hudson Valley.
- Southern California: Los Angeles metro: destinations include The South Coast and Scottsdale.
In sharing one businesses experience about how Amazon Destinations has impacted their business, a hotel owner in Woodinville, Washington, shared her experience.
“Since the launch, many of the Amazon shoppers that have made a reservation through Amazon Destinations were staying at Willows Lodge for the very first time,” said Kathleen Boyd of Willows Lodge. “Many of the Amazon shoppers spent an additional $50 on average during their stay and 40 percent of the shoppers reserved an upgraded room category.”
“We created Amazon Destinations to solve a problem most travelers face: how to easily plan and book a local getaway trip. Interestingly, more than 40 percent of all U.S. domestic leisure trips are short-term getaways of 1-3 nights, and many of these trips are to nearby, drivable destinations,” Amazon spokesman Tom Cook said. “However, travelers often have a hard time planning local getaways. It’s difficult to know where to go, the process is labor-intensive, and people often miss out on finding great places to stay.”
The Destinations page also allows for hotels to offer discounts, packaged deals, etc. on Amazon, and for the user to secure the reservation directly using the calendar on the site. Amazon’s calendar also allows users to compare prices based on the travel dates selected so travelers can understand when peak rates are in force. Some of those perks are available on other hotel booking sites, but Amazon believes it has one edge on its service: each advertised listing has been selected by Amazon employees themselves, the company claims.