Amazon has been moving steadily into local via their numerous local marketplaces; home services, same day product delivery, restaurant takeout, grocery deliver and hotel bookings. Today they upped their hotel booking game with the rollout of Amazon Destinations as part of local.amazon.com.
The website doesn’t go for the every hotel in the world approach of TripAdvisor and is focused around regional chains, botique hotels and b and b’s and seems to be emphasizing short getaways within driving distance from major metropolitan areas.
From the business section of the local site:
Amazon Destinations helps hotel operators reach millions of Amazon customers looking to book their next getaway. You can provide access to your everyday rates and availability, along with packaged deals and discounts.
Amazon is positioning itself as a high touch, high visibility environment where businesses can increase their exposure and be assured that their customers will receive excellent service via Amazon.
Clearly Amazon is rapidly moving into the local space. They will not compete directly with Google’s approach of providing massive local data and they probably can’t compete with Google in this arena.
But instead of driving people down the search funnel to an ad they will drive people to make the actual purchase. They will leverage the trust people have in their name and the high traffic of their site to compete in local where their brand, marketplaces and customer service gives them an advantage.