Skift Take

Slowly but surely Amazon is building up a considerable travel presence in India via its app. How deep and far will it eventually decide to go?

Amazon may have shut down its embryonic hotel booking business back in 2015, but that didn’t mean it was done with the travel sector.

Earlier this year, Skift broke the news that the company was starting to offer flights for sale via a partnership with Indian online travel agency Cleartrip.

The move was part of the plan to bolster Amazon’s position as a superapp, at least in India, and unsurprisingly it hasn’t stopped there. The tech giant has now added bus tickets via a partnership with MakeMyTrip-owned RedBus.

“Over the course of time, [the] Amazon app has become the one-stop destination for the shopping and payment needs of our customers” said Vikas Bansal, director, Amazon Pay.

“We are excited to partner with RedBus and move another step forward in making life easy for our customers.”

RedBus has a presence in India and a number of other countries including Peru and Singapore and has a network of more than 2,300 bus companies worldwide. It appears though that the Amazon partnership only relates to its home market.

“We are excited to partner with Amazon to bring bus ticketing to its large customer base to further widen and deepen the penetration of online bus ticketing in our country,” said Manoj Agarwala, senior vice president at RedBus.

Skift reached out to Amazon for comment but has yet to hear back.

Amazon’s Travel Future

After adding flights, bus travel and movie tickets to the platform, it sounds like there is more to come. The Times of India reported that Amazon is in talks to add hotels and train ticketing.

With Amazon likely adding incremental services to its India operation, the question is what will it do next? It’s first foray into the world of travel ended abruptly and this time the company has gone down the more cautious route of partnering with other companies to deepen its product offering. Is the company thinking about a similar strategy in Europe or North America?

“For one of the most important companies in the world, Amazon’s impact on the travel industry has been surprisingly small to date. It is unlikely to stay that way for long,” Skift Research noted in a 2018 report on the company.

Amazon isn’t the only company pursuing a superapp strategy in India. Walmart-owned Flipkart is going after a similar digital audience. Both would like to replicate some odf the success that WeChat has had in China


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Tags: amazon, asia, bus, india, superapps

Photo credit: A selection of apps. Amazon is expanding the services it offers in India. Samyukta Lakshmi / Bloomberg

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