Amazon has given very little away about its new travel strategy after acknowledging the appearance of flights booking on its India website.
The company says the launch is in response to "growing demand from customers for more services”.
India-based online travel agency Cleartrip is powering the white label flight search and booking service on Amazon. Currently the tool will only allow users to secure domestic flights, using carriers such as AirAsia, IndiGo, Air India and GoAir.
The company says it will not offer any comment on the scope of the strategy.
This includes if and when other countries will get the same functionality on their respective Amazon Pay pages and if the service will be expanded beyond flights.
Amazon said during the "launch period" customers will get cashback of INR 1,600 (US$229), with Prime members offered additional rewards of up to INR 2,000.
It also says booking cancelations will only incur penalties imposed by the carriers, not any via Amazon or Cleartrip.
Shariq Plasticwala, director at Amazon Pay in India, said, "Customers are already using Amazon beyond shopping. Over the past year, customers have rapidly adopted our payments services such as mobile recharges, utility payments and money transfers.
"They love the convenience we offer of shopping and paying -- all in one single app. We’re delighted to add domestic flight bookings enabling customers to do more with their Amazon app and for Prime members to get more value from their membership".
Phocuswright analyst Norm Rose believes the strategy of running the service in conjunction with Cleartrip is perhaps a signal of experimentation on Amazon's part.
"The fact that the site is powered by Cleartrip illustrates a desire by Amazon to not actually offer an air booking solution but instead to incorporate an existing OTA into their platform. Where this leads is unclear”, he said.
"As this is connected to Amazon pay, the strategy seems to about facilitating the transaction not providing planning or booking tools like Google. If you think about the Chinese model where the large e-commerce platforms have a travel component, it is likely Amazon is following this same platform model for e-commerce rather than actually becoming an OTA".
Source: PhocusWire US