Amazon Contacting Operators for Secret Tours, Activities Initiative
The tech giant has reached out to many operators about a confidential new project.
In 2015, whispers that the tech giant Amazon was getting into travel permeated the airwaves. Those stories proved overblown. Representatives from Amazon told reporters they were not launching a travel site, but rather a tool called Amazon Destinations that featured weekend getaway-type products such as hotels in the Northeast, Pacific Northwest and California.
Amazon Destinations unexpectedly shuttered later in 2015.
Now, there are rumors that Amazon is working on a product designed to serve operators of tours, activities and attractions.
Arival has confirmed that Amazon has reached out to at least a handful of operators around the globe inquiring to meet about a new project they are working on, and talk about a potential partnership. It appears Amazon aims to keep detailed discussions with some operators to in-person meetings.
Operators, Amazon Remain Tight-Lipped
Amazon is requiring operators interested in learning more about their initiative to sign a non-disclosure agreement, citing its highly confidential nature. Some operators have signed this NDA.
Brian Bergey, co-founder of Lost Plate Food Tours, who has not been contacted by Amazon, told Arival he isn’t surprised by the online retailer’s possible consideration to enter the tours, activities and attractions space. “[Amazon] already has a captive audience of super users and their buying habits likely allow Amazon to understand their travel timelines and trends,” he says.
At least one top Wall Street firm agrees. In March 2018, Morgan Stanley equity analyst Brian Nowak identified Amazon’s advantageous position to enter online travel commerce. “Online travel has proven to be immune to Amazon disruption so far. But as we have seen with other categories, that doesn’t mean Amazon won’t try again, and they should,” wrote Nowak in a note to clients, according to CNBC. “Amazon’s focus on selection/service, pricing, and frictionless payment that drive conversion and stronger user economics also translate directly to travel.”
With over 100 million Amazon Prime members in the U.S. and customers in 180+ countries, Amazon’s involvement in tours, activities and attractions is certainly tantalizing.
Arival reached out to Amazon to comment; we did not hear back.
Stay tuned for more as this story develops on Arival.Travel.