In its push to expand beyond an online store for books and merchandise, Amazon.com Inc. is entering the travel-reservations business.
The e-commerce retailer Tuesday introduced Amazon Destinations, which provides maps, lodging deals and information about restaurants at popular weekend getaways near Los Angeles, New York City and Seattle. The new site is a travel-focused expansion of the Seattle-based company's Amazon Local, which connects Amazon shoppers with deals close to them.
The world's biggest online retailer by revenue will be competing with Priceline Group Inc., Expedia Inc., startup Airbnb Inc. and others for a piece of the online hotel booking market. Tourism in the U.S. is a $960-billion industry, according to researcher IBISWorld.
"We created Amazon Destinations to solve a problem most travellers face: how to easily plan and book a local getaway trip," Amazon spokesman Tom Cook said. "Travellers 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."