Business

Amazon.com expands into online travel services

Amazon.com is expanding into travel services, launching the Amazon Destinations site in three U.S. cities on Tuesday.

Amazon Destinations is e-commerce giant's answer to Expedia, Travelocity

The Amazon Destinations service offers local travel packages and deals, initially in just three U.S. cities. (CBC)

Amazon.com is expanding into travel services, launching the Amazon Destinations site in three U.S. cities on Tuesday.

The addition of an online travel service, Amazon Destinations, puts the e-commerce giant into competition with Travelocity, Expedia and Airbnb for both merchants and customers.

Amazon Destinations is aimed at giving local hotel and getaway deals in Los Angeles, New York and Seattle.

The service is an expansion of the Amazon local service offered in many cities, with discounts and deals from local businesses.

But Amazon Destinations is actively wooing hotels, attractions, restaurants and others with the potential of being online with the world's biggest online sales site.

The site is geared to local travel — and thus might have potential for Vancouver tourist destinations hoping to win business from Seattle.

Amazon has offered flash deals and travel-related services since 2012 but this is an expansion of that service. Amazon often test-markets new ideas on a smaller scale, before expanding them across its service.

Amazon is trying to gain a bigger share of the services market and last month started experimenting with a home services site, where businesses can sell to services like house cleaning and small renovation projects.

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