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Amazon shutters Destinations site after six months

Online retailer pulls the plug on a weekend getaways site that faced heavy competition from established players like Airbnb and TripAdvisor.

Amazon Destinations sunsets. Amazon

Amazon quietly closed its Amazon Destinations site Tuesday, offering little explanation for the move just six months after the service launched.

"We have learned a lot and have decided to discontinue Amazon Destinations," a company spokesperson said in a statement.

Amazon Destinations was introduced in April as a way for people to plan and reserve local getaway trips, while also helping Amazon expand into travel bookings. The service was available in only a handful of US markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Atlanta.

The Seattle online retailer has a reputation for diving into new markets and experimenting with services, which don't always work out. Among one of its most prominent failures, the company last year built a smartphone, the Fire Phone, but it didn't take off with customers and resulted in millions of dollars in losses. Amazon Destinations was a smaller effort that was just starting to be developed. The service faced heavy competition against established players in the online travel business, including TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Expedia, Groupon and other sites.

The site Wednesday included just a short message, stating: "Effective October 13, 2015, Amazon Destinations stopped selling hotel reservations."

Current reservations will be honored by hotels, Amazon said. The Seattle Times first reported the change Tuesday.