Could Amazon shake up online travel next?
Amazon should hit the road, according to Morgan Stanley. That is, the e-commerce giant would do well to get into the online travel space, according to a note from Morgan Stanley analysts cited by CNBC.
"Amazon's focus on selection/service, pricing and frictionless payment that drive conversion and stronger user economics also translate directly to travel," analysts said, according to the client note cited by CNBC.
The level of investment on the part of companies like Expedia, which offer online flight and hotel booking services, is essentially chump change for Amazon, according to the report. Amazon declined to comment on the idea to Retail Dive.
Morgan Stanley analysts see Amazon's more than 300 million customers as ready and willing consumers of an Amazon travel service. And the $620 million per year that online companies like Expedia spend each year wouldn't exactly be a stretch for the online giant.
Most of the world perceives Amazon as a retailer, but the company offers plenty of services, including its B2B cloud services and customer-facing pages for finding home services like plumbing or housecleaning. The company is also said to be poised to become a shipper in competition with United Parcel Service and FedEx, and may even get into healthcare.
Travel search engine Kayak has launched voice-enabled travel search on Amazon Alexa, underscoring the interest in the platform and the potential for natural language processing to support research for products and services.
Amazon's Alexa voice assistant already helps users search flights, hotels and rental cars as well as receive real-time flight status updates.
The travel business boasts an annual U.S. market of $480 billion, and Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak said he believes that Amazon could scoop up some $600 million in profit annually a year if it ran an online booking business just half the size of Expedia, according to CNBC.
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