November 14, 2005, 12:00 AM

Amazon enters travel services with SideStep

Amazon.com will begin offering online travel services early next year through a partnership with SideStep, an online travel service that searches the web for deals, the companies said.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Amazon.com Inc. will begin offering online travel services early next year through a partnership with SideStep Inc., an online travel service that searches the web for deals, the companies said.

"We are pleased to announce that SideStep will be partnering with Amazon Services to promote SideStep`s travel search engine to Amazon.com customers in our travel store," said Jeff Blackburn, Amazon`s vice president of business development. "Starting in early 2006, our customers will be able to find and discover the best deals on airline, hotel, and rental car offerings using this unique approach to travel search."

SideStep searches more than 100 travel sites, including airlines, hotels, rental car companies and other online travel agencies and consolidators. It differs from other travel sites in that it sends visitors directly to the sites of airlines and other travel providers, letting the consumer buy directly from the travel company and earn loyalty points, says vice president of corporate marketing Phil Carpenter.

SideStep charges either a referral fee to the travel providers or a fee based on a percentage of the sale, he adds.

“Amazon will clearly show our ability to execute on a massive scale,” Carpenter tells InternetRetailer.com. “This is the first big retail site we’ve contracted with, but we’re also interested in working with other online retailers and e-commerce portals.”

Retailers that offer SideStep on their web sites will have flexibility in how they brand it, Carpenter says. Amazon has not announced how it will brand SideStep, he adds.

 

 

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