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Amazon to launch travel site

Amazon.com already sells nearly everything people need for their homes. Now it's offering users a way to get out of them.

The online retail giant is poised to launch a hotel booking service, Amazon Travel, at the start of the new year.

Skift reports that Amazon will begin the roll out with a selection of independent hotels located within driving distance of three major cities, Los Angeles, Seattle and New York.

Hotels can post pictures, amenities, room availability and rates, and will reportedly hand over a standard 15 percent commission to Amazon for all prepaid bookings.

In a conversation with CBS News, CNET senior editor Jeff Bakalar wondered how the vacation booking experience might dovetail with shopping on the site.

"If you're already on Amazon buying a toaster -- whatever you're doing -- you can plan travel at the same time," he said. "Think about it. You're going to go away... [and] Amazon might say 'Hey, why don't you take a GoPro along with you on your trip to Seattle?'"

According to Skift, Amazon Travel will be a place for smaller, independent and boutique hotels and resorts that aren't part of major chains and don't have competitive marketing power.

The site will not -- at least at first -- offer airline or other travel bookings, but will include editorial content about attractions in its target areas.