Just as he has done in other industries, Jeff Bezos can lever data, loyal Prime customers and a lower-cost distribution channel to move the market overnight.
Quote from Clayton Reid, CEO at MMGY Global, in an article on PhocusWire this week.
A review of 2018, a preview for what's next: Travel marketing
Cast your minds back to the turn of the decade, not long after HotelTonight was created in the United States.
The mobile-only, same-day hotel booking service had wowed (some in) the industry for its zeitgeist-led service, bringing together both changes in traveler behavior and the, at the time, early but rapid adoption of the smartphone.
It was never going to unseat the powerhouses of hotel bookings online: Back then the dominant Expedia and ever-more omnipresent Booking.com.
In fact, same-day bookings were added pretty quickly to a number of online travel agencies, illustrating how quickly it was technically to turn on the same type of functionality and add such a service for its existing customer base (many of whom may have perhaps been tempted to try HotelTonight).
HotelTonight abandoned same-day booking for late-booking pretty soon (one week out) after these developments.
The situation that the company found itself in at that time is, in some respects, a similar one to the market in 2018 and 2019.
So ripe for change and opportunity is the travel sector by a major, global player that Amazon's entry into it is now just a question of when, rather than if.
Many startups seek to "disrupt" the incumbents with their cool eagerness, technology and interfaces, but very few (perhaps even none) have the scale, computing power and strategic prowess to do so - or at least do so in a way that keeps the likes of Expedia's Mark Okerstrom and Glenn Fogel of Booking Holdings awake at night.
Clayton Reid's additional analysis illustrates how Amazon could make its mark, not least with how it might force Google into changing its ways.
This, lest we forget, is something that no other brand in travel has managed to do in the 20 years since Google has been on the scene.
Bezos's ability to do things "overnight" is incorrect and only makes for a great headline - we all know it takes a lot longer to create something meaningful in travel - but the reaction from consumers and the industry to it could be fairly instantaneous.
Amazon didn't play its card in 2018 (yes, yes, everyone knows about the previous efforts) - but you can bet it has learned a lot more along the way as it watches the market evolve and the powerhouses shore up their defenses before it attacks.