June 6, 2018, by Michael Erving
There’s been some talk of Amazon getting (back) into the travel scene (after its launch and subsequent shuttering of Amazon Destinations back in 2015), and we’ve been mulling that over a bit at Utrip. What would the Amazon-ization of travel look like, and more importantly, what would that mean for travelers, trips, and the industry as a whole?
Without getting too far in the weeds about specific UX possibilities, if Amazon were to get involved, booking would (mercifully) become much easier. As pioneers of the one-click buy button (which admittedly backfired a bit), Amazon’s purchasing process finds the sweet spot in the delicate balance of convenience and user intentionality. Streamlining this currently clunky process could result in higher conversion for bookings. And since that means more people are traveling, that sounds pretty exciting to us.
Speaking of Amazon’s strong suits, the packaging options would be pretty stellar. Since selling packages/experiences and generating ancillary revenue is what it’s all about these days (just take a look at TripAdvisor’s Things to Do page and you’ll see what we’re talking about), it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to see Amazon’s deftly-placed packages pulling in some serious traction.
But the packaging would be just half of the recommendations Amazon could provide: just think about how amazing their “recommended for you” could be—both on a destination and on a POI/Experience/lodging level. On top of that, imagine just how much you’d want to interact with them.
On top of that, different Amazon departments could offer unique ins into the world of travel. Take Handmade, for example: it’s a not-too-far leap to see them providing an in for bespoke experiences (like Airbnb) for travelers looking for less generic on-the-ground experiences. There’s also Services, which could expand into everything from taxi drivers and concierges, to bookable guides—and maybe even something like Expedia’s Local Experts.
While it’s easy to see the ways Amazon could make booking and the pre-travel process awesome, it’s also not hard to see how it *could* (in its existing form, anyway) leave a bit to be desired. Imagining a trip completely paid for, sight unseen sounds a bit far-fetched (and if we’re honest, not super engaging).
That said, there could be some added convenience for business travelers or folks who travel consistently. Simply being able to have your Echo book the same flight you just took for your next business trip or have it make another reservation at the hotel you just stayed at—and then going back to listening to music or watching The Handmaid’s Tale—would be really convenient.
Convenience is King (and Queen, for That Matter)
And that’s what it’s all about: convenience. Imagine: you have your hotel, flight, activities, sunscreen, vacation clothes, and every travel-size thing you need all in one shopping cart. Then it’s a few clicks and everything’s done. That doesn't sound too bad at all.
It will be interesting to see how and when Amazon redefines yet another facet of our lives. Let’s just hope it doesn’t go the way of Fire Phone.
So that's what we think about Amazon. Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to let us know.