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The giant Amazon takes on hotel reservations

After talking about it, it had to happen. The biggest global website site for online sales has decided to take on travel reservations and hotel reservations in particular. A new player means a new economic model.

Amazon will begin testing an online reservation service in January with a selection hotels with 4 or more stars located in three major agglomerations: New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. The target is mostly independent hoteliers wishing to expand their distribution channels by getting out of the grips of "classic" OTAs.

Amazon's commission has an upper limit of 15% for rooms that the hotelier puts online himself using Extranet at the prices and conditions chosen by the property. Reservations would be communicated by email and it is the hotelier's job to keep reservation planning up to date. Payment may be made by the buyer through Amazon, which pays the hotels minus commission.

To support its commitment to the sector, Amazon is launching an online information service: Amazon Travel with texts about the activities and attractions in the area near the three test destinations. The test phase should then extend throughout American territory with local bases in place in Boston, San Francisco and Dallas. 

Amazon appears to want to move ahead carefully in a sector that is already quite competitive, but it has a strong sales pitch: the database it has for its millions of clients in the United States alone and hundreds of millions in the rest of the world.

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