Wed 31 Oct 2012
Here’s something interesting…. and for my money, you might want to start focusing on Google vs Amazon in Travel, as the past fades away. I understand that Amazon Local is angled as a coupon site right now. I do understand that. But they have Living Social, and endless experiences that tell them they need to compete on a bigger playing field.
This is a great article about Google’s - Maps, Flight, Hotel, Restaurant, Transit, Events, Packages, Places, Nearby Attractions / Photo Spots. It leaves out social, which I have chatted about before. Before you smirk about Google Plus, it’s gaining users… but that’s not the whole of it.(click for more)
The ITA acquisition was the death knell of the stopgap distribution of 1995-2010. Travel is finally changing, and if the aging OTA’s can’t keep up, then that might be their problem. Many knew how Google would enter travel, but weren’t sure how they would cohesively bind them together. Much of it will be through search, obviously. I know some people don’t think of Google Plus as a success, but they can play long ball in not needing to monetize it in any way. If your business relies on Google Search for traffic, then it might be unwise to write off Google Plus. I am not even saying it’s a Facebook competitor, but we might want to include G+ as the “social” aspect to their travel dominance, which will be an excellent platform to wrap all of these, succinctly, together.
Speaking of Facebook…..
No one mentions Amazon?! I just got the below from Amazon. I know they had Living Social, and I knew about Local, but didn’t assume any plans. Our portfolio is small enough, we can’t be the only ones Amazon is approaching. I think this is a big deal. It’s apparent where Google is headed, and how difficult it has been for others to monetize users. If they grow Amazon Local into a Travel Vertical… well….
If it’s done like a living social (which amazon owns and I bet they learned lessons from), it wouldn’t be for us. In fact, if Amazon is listening… it’s not for anyone. Daily Coupon deals were a fad that blew up in our faces. I don’t think we should assume that it will stasis as a coupon platform. What’s more, you don’t have to monetize or convert amazon users. Those aren’t social users – those are consumers with credit cards already authorized with one click ordering turned on. Facebook has been DESPERATE to monetize users like that. So has all social. Foursquare, Instagram, etc – they need to get people buying. If they set this up right, it could be a monster?
Even Luxury brands might bite… Amazon brand isn’t associated with discounting necessarily, or OTA’s. It’s associated with buying what you want when you want it, easily at fair prices with accurate opinions. I think? If they position it as “this much off in your city”, which seems to be a current look, they will have a harder time establishing relevant brands who don’t want to dilute their name by being associated with discounting sites. But if it’s simply the beginning…..
If it’s packages, and they get a cut, or % commission etc… I am interested to hear them out. If it approaches OTA or Groupon-like style, it’s an obvious no. But while pondering what “Amazon” would do to your hotel brand name, positive or negative, I am thinking this could be a powerful engine to drive a lot of revenue, in the future. We’ll see what develops. They are much better positioned than Facebook or other social platforms to enter effectively into the internet’s travel battleground.
What are your thoughts? (I took out his contact info as I am not sure if this was private or sent to many….)
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 11:09 AM
Subject: Amazon Opportunity
Hope you are doing well. Amazon recently launched a new platform, AmazonLocal, allowing hotels to offer travel packages to Amazon customers. Hotels have the opportunity to regionally target Amazon’s active customers (180 MM worldwide) with special offers. Your properties are particularly interesting to us.
Are you interested in learning more about the opportunity? Please let me know your availability and we can find a time for a call.
xxx | AmazonLocal