Orbitz shows Mac users more expensive hotels

Dana Mattiolo for the Wall Street Journal:

Orbitz Worldwide Inc. has found that people who use Apple Inc.’s Mac computers spend as much as 30% more a night on hotels, so the online travel agency is starting to show them different, and sometimes costlier, travel options than Windows visitors see.

Orbitz says that users can overcome the issue by ranking results by price. If this leaves as nasty a taste in your mouth as it does in mine, though, the better solution might be to skip Orbitz all together in favor of a different site that doesn’t discriminate based on your platform. (The article suggests that Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity do not, by the way.)

  • Segmentation and discrimination are not the same thing. Mac users have proven over and over they are willing to pay for quality.

    You could argue Oribitz is simply trying to show mac users the product that are more likely to want.

  • This bothered me when I first heard about it, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal…yet. They are just presenting more statistically relevant results first. As long as the prices are the same for the same hotel on any platform, I don’t have a problem. The moment the show different prices based on platform is the moment I tell everyone I know to avoid using the site.

    That said, I don’t really use Orbitz and the first thing I do when I get the results is sort by price, so this doesn’t really affect me much.

  • Phos…. FourDots

    >>>[i]”The Orbitz effort, which is in its early stages, demonstrates how tracking people’s online activities can use even seemingly innocuous information—in this case, the fact that customers are visiting Orbitz.com from a Mac—to start predicting their tastes and spending habits.”[/i]

    Kind of a fool’s errand. The only thing that’s predictable is the fact that people’s tastes and spending habits are often mercurial and quite unpredictable. I might be a full-on Apple fan, but I’m a cheapskate when it comes to a lot of things. Demographically, I fit one profile economically, and quite a different one culturally.

    Ohhhh…this guy’s white, 53, college-level education, grew up in the suburbs…I’ll bet he’ll wanna spend $165/ticket to see Eric Clapton in Atlantic City, and will dump a bunch of money in the casinos, and stay overnight at the Borgata. Noooo…but I will travel 120 miles to a little dive bar in Baltimore to spend a whopping $12 to see some really good indie band that 99% of the country has never heard of. I’ll pack a ham sandwich, carrots and some iced tea, I won’t drink at the bar, and I’ll drive home that night.

    Then I’ll sit down in front of my $5,000 Mac set-up to edit photos, video and the 24 bit/192kHz audio I snagged off the board.

  • Guest

    This might be a good way to avoid the PC riff-raff when going on trips. Imagine a hotel free of “Free Public WiFi”